Friday, October 1, 2010

Esposito: 'Ignorance', Not Islam, Is The Enemy: A fitting phrase, as in Islam, all who are not Muslim are deemed 'ignorant'

Esposito up to his Saudi sponsored tricks again! He talks about Americans being ignorant of religion [read Islam], and although he makes a lot of noise he adds nothing to the debate around the pro-Islamic anti-Christian bias in Texas textbooks. For Islam ~ the textbooks make a clear statement that God said [~ what is true], and for Christianity and other religions it is written as ~ what is believed. To takeover the parts of the world Islam ~ Muslims killed 200 or more million people [easy] ~ this cannot be simply described as Muslim 'migration', while condemning the Crusaders' crimes. If the Inquisition and other parts of western history, where we feel people erred can be talked about, why can't Muslims talk honestly about their past? Why can't Esposito offer his expertise on Islam in order to help Muslims reconcile with their past. Saudi funded sponsored lobbying of western education could very well be the enemy ~ if we are taught to hate ourselves while putting our faith in fantasy ~ that is above question.

Esposito uses words like ignorance to play on Muslim emotion. And Islamophobia in the west ~ why doesn't he tell Muslims to forego Islamic law and give non-Muslims in their countries equal rights under the law. Tell Muslims to stop the religious Apartheid. End the Dhimmi laws ~ that keep non-Muslims as second class citizens.

What is dangerous is people are persuaded to give up rights based laws for Islam's religious ones. That's why it is important what kids learn.

'Dangerous' religious illiteracy in America was evident after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Religious leaders from multiple faiths--Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and others--quickly realized the dangers involved. The latest surveys show how little has changed, note John L. Esposito and Sheila B. Lalwani.

In a single vote, the Texas State Board of Education managed to undermine Christian-Muslim relations, hamper religious literacy and impose ignorance on our kids at a time when they need knowledge to live and work in a competitive and integrated world.

Board members--no foreigners to strange and bizarre decisions--voted to scrub textbooks of anything that smacked of a "pro-Islam" or "anti-Christian" bias. Texas textbooks, by their sheer number, end up setting nationwide standards.

The resolution, passed in a 7-6 vote, refers to moments in history when Christianity is portrayed unfavorably and Islamic events that could be deemed unfavorable are "glossed over." The vote endangers relations between Christians and Muslims at a time when Islamophobia is becoming a worrying phenomenon across America.

Statistics from the Pew Center on Religion & Public Life find that 38 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam, compared to 30 percent who reported a positive view. Another study conducted by The Washington Post found Islam's unfavorable image creeping up to 49 percent among Americans.

Here at home, US Muslims have expressed concern and fear over recent developments of burned Qurans and strident opposition to building mosques. Muslims overseas, meanwhile, shake their heads in dismay over the future of Islam and Muslims in America.

The actions of the Texas educators do nothing to change and alter opinions of the US abroad; if anything, they probably make things worse.

Ironically, the Texas vote comes as a new film, "Waiting for Superman," depicts how America's best and brightest are educationally unprepared and falling further behind in math and science.

We have a duty to give our kids a well-rounded education, and in today's world that includes understanding religion and its impact on public affairs at home and abroad.

Indeed, there's already substantial darkness regarding basic knowledge of religion in this country. The Pew Forum's new survey of religion literacy, released Tuesday (Sept. 28), found that about half of Americans know that the Quran is the holy book of Islam. It also found that less than a third know that most people in Indonesia--the world's most populous Muslim nation--are, in fact, Muslim.

Our dangerous religious illiteracy was evident after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Religious leaders from multiple faiths--Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and others--quickly realized the dangers involved. The latest surveys show how little has changed.

We need to prepare our kids for the reality that they will interact with people of different faiths; being sensitive to those faiths can only improve relations. This work begins at home--and in the schools.

The vote of the Texas State Board of Education is not only sad but also dangerous, representing a throwback to willful darkness, something that should not find a haven in centers of education. Students deserve more than that.

Islam is a not the enemy. Ignorance is. And educators--in Texas or any place else--should never endorse it.

John L. Esposito is University Professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He is co-author of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, and author of the newly released book The Future of Islam (2010). Sheila B. Lalwani is a Research Fellow at the Centre.

Middle East Online

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