FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jerry Falwell’s Slurs

Here we go again. Baptist Minister Jerry Falwell, during an interview conducted by CBS’s “60 Minutes” on October 6, told journalist Bob Simon he thought the Prophet Muhammad was “a terrorist.” Naturally, this has caused an angry uproar in the American Muslim community. My question is, why are Muslims so bent out of shape over this?

This is not the first time conservative Christian leaders have attacked Islam and its Prophet. The Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and successor, called Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.” Christian Coalition founder and television evangelist Pat Robertson called the prophet Muhammad “an absolute wild-eyed fanatic . . . a robber and brigand . . . a killer.” Jerry Vines, past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, also put his voice in the fray when he called the Prophet a “demon-possessed pedophile.”

Further, this is not the first time the Prophet Muhammad has been slandered. During his lifetime, he was smeared as “demon-possessed,” or as a “sorcerer,” or as “crazy,” or as a “soothsayer” by his enemies. During his ministry in Mecca, the Prophet would be slandered every time he prayed at the Ka’abah, Islam’s holy shrine. Yet, this did not deter him. He frequently took it in stride and never let it bother him.

What’s more, this is not the first time Prophets have been slandered and attacked by their opponents. Jesus was frequently stoned, as was recorded in the New Testament. Jesus, in fact, twice said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country” (Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:4). In the Qur’an, Noah was slandered as a “man possessed and was driven out [by his people]” (54:9), and Moses was condemned by Pharoah as a “sorcerer” (17:101). So, the slander of Prophets in general, and Prophet Muhammad in particular, is nothing new.

And yet, it still hurts. Why? Because the “terrorist” Rev. Falwell claims is Prophet Muhammad is not the Prophet we know as Muslims. The Prophet we know is kind and gentle. Whenever he passed by small children, he would greet them with kisses and kind words. The Prophet we know told us, “The best of you are the ones who treat their wives the best.” Our Prophet abhorred violence, and he always searched for peaceful ends to conflict. Our Prophet forgave his enemies despite their relentless and violent opposition to him. Our Prophet forgave his companions after they directly disobyed his order during a military battle, in which the Prophet himself was badly wounded. The Muhammad that these conservative Christian leaders are talking about must be some other person; it is not the Prophet 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide honor, revere, and ask God to send blessing down upon each and every day.

I am not asking Rev. Falwell (or Robertson or Graham or Vines) to love or even like the Prophet Muhammad. They are entitled to their opinions. What I, and the millions of other American Muslims, ask is respect for our Prophet. No Prophet or religious figure should be slandered in the way the Prophet Muhammad has been publicly maligned. Comments such as that of Rev. Falwell only serve to divide us as a people. Furthermore, it is unbecoming of a Christian because the Qur’an told me, “And nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, ‘We are Christians'”. In this day and age, division and discord are two things America can do without.

HESHAM A. HASSABALLA is a Chicago physician and columnist for Beliefnet.com and the Independent Writers Syndicate. He is contributing author to the forthcoming Rodale book, Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith, due to be released in November.

More articles by:

December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail