Thursday, May 27, 2010

Of Mosques and Men: Muslim Mindsets and a Supplement to David's Post

The Ground Zero Mosque is, in my mind, a clear affront to Western sensibilities and national pride. I have likened it to a German WWII Memorial being built right next to Auschwitz in Poland. It is similar indeed - Auschwitz was the Ground Zero of the holocaust. A monument to the Germans, built with a specific reference to the WWII tragedy, would be a fair parallel to building a Muslim monument with a clear reference to the 9/11 tragedy (let's not forget, they want to open the mosque on 9/11/2011). Although 9/11 pales in comparison to the holocaust in degree of torture and slaughter, its memory has a powerful effect in the heart of the American, as does the memory of the holocaust in the hearts of Jews.

I also agree with David, that Islam teaches taqiyya, and 3:28 is very clear in what it is saying: "Do not take non-Muslims as greater friends than Muslims - unless you do it to protect yourself", i.e. only be good friends with non-Muslims as a deceptive means of self-preservation. That verse is mubeen.

Correct theology aside, let us not forget that the average Western Muslim does not follow the Qur'an in its entirety! Practically speaking, when we converse with Muslims and share the Gospel with them (which is the ultimate purpose of this blog), we will do so knowledgeably and appropriately. We will know, for the most part, Western Muslims have been affected by Western standards of peace and morality, and thus do not take the Qur'an seriously when it says things like 3:28.

It is important, therefore, to understand what is going on in the minds of the Muslims we encounter in the West. All I can share with a high degree of certainty in that regard is what my own mindset was when I was a Muslim. So I will speak to that.

In 2002, in the aftermath of September 11th, I showed David three pictures from an email:

When I showed those pictures to David, I didn't find them funny because I meant to say "Americans are getting killed and this is hilarious!" If that were the case, why would I have sent them on to an American? I honestly just thought "These are funny pictures - I should show these to my buddy".

To be explicit, David has said "There was something in Nabeel that allowed him to smile when there were terrorist attacks", linking the smiling to the terrorist attacks. Neither I, nor any Muslim I knew intimately, thought the terrorist attacks themselves were any cause for smiling.

The question remains, why did I think the pictures were funny? As many Western Muslim were, I was dealing with the tragedy through humor. The question is: why would Muslims laugh at this situation? As David has said, "People who dealt with 9/11 through humor made fun of the terrorists, they didn't joke about terrorist attacks clearing the way for a new Mecca."

This is where it's important to understand the Western Muslim mindset.

Muslim Westerners don't see terrorists the same way non-Muslim Westerners do. When I was a Muslim I saw these terrorists as people, boys for the most part, who have been brainwashed and misled by bloodthirsty mullahs and imams. For the sake of fighting oppression and freeing their families from miserable circumstances, they offered up their lives. They are willing to die for what they believe in, and to offer their loved ones a chance at better lives. That is how I saw them: sincere but misled young men who have been used by evil.

It is a sick and sad state of affairs, and though their actions are utterly evil, the terrorists themselves aren't evil incarnate as we would often portray them. The West has a tendency to dehumanize their enemies (all people do), and we have done it with the terrorists as well. Just look at the term "terrorist" - it takes all the humanity out of a person and replaces it with evil.

Muslim Westerners are closer to these terrorists on the familial spectrum than non-Muslim Westerners, and so they are not as prone to dehumanizing them. Therefore, they are less likely to make fun of them. How do Western Muslims, therefore, deal with 9/11 if they are going to use humor? By laughing at the situation (i.e. neither the victims nor the terrorists). What I, and the Muslims around me, were laughing at when we saw those photos was more along these lines: "Well, at least people are talking about Islam now - perhaps this will open the door for Islam to spread throughout the West."

And herein is truth: Virtually every Muslim I've ever known believes that Islam should and will conquer the world. Some Muslims, like the sect of Islam I was in, believed it should be through peaceful means - that people would convert when they hear the message of Islam. Honestly, I think we were in the minority. Other Muslims I know believe it will be by whatever means necessary, peaceful first and then violent if it comes to that.

One other thing I wish to point out regarding Western Muslims and America: most of the Muslims in the West either moved from Muslim nations or are born of those who came from Muslim nations. Being in a Muslim nation generally gets you to have a love-hate relationship with America: you'd love to be in America, but you hate it for what it's doing to your brothers in the middle east. Once you then move to America, you have a vested interest in it, but often still long for the day Islam will take over America so that you will no longer have to be torn in your loyalties. Those born in America often have these sentiments passed on to them from their parents, though diminished in strength.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I have observed this to be true: Most Muslims I know do have some underlying resentment towards America, regardless of whether they are American citizens. This is certainly less frequently the case for American born Muslims than for naturalized immigrants, but I have observed it quite frequently in both groups.

To summarize my point for all practical purposes, I don't think it would be good for us to be afraid of making friends with Muslims - not all Muslims live by 3:28. The sheer fact that David was my best friend when I was a Muslim shows that to be true. I would even say that most Muslims in the West don't live by 3:28 - they make friends with all kinds of other people, and they are sincere in doing so.

But the fact that they are not living by the teachings of Islam doesn't then, in turn, make Islam peaceful. They are ignoring the more hateful and deceptive teachings, which the Qur'an does explicitly command. It is this set of hateful, deceptive, and false teachings that we are fighting against.

P.S. I still laugh at photos like these, although this is slightly more scary:


MaMiKiKeYu said...

david, u should see this

minoria said...

Thank you Nabeel for your insights into a different world.It is also scary.I will explain.

I saw a documentary about 9/11.Did you know MOHAMMED ATTA,the leader of the Hamburg cell,came from a NON-RELIGIOUS Muslim family in Egypt?

As Ali Sina said,the non-religious Muslims can be activated into terrorists in a second.Not all but it is terrifying it happens many times.

Mayada said...

That is my point that I have been trying to make throughout my FAQ posts. Non-religious "Muslims," are more likely to snapping into terrorist mode after being terrorized their whole lives than REAL devote Muslims... Real Devote Muslims would RARELY, if EVER do such things such as mass murder, kill women and children, and kill innocent people. True Muslims are educated, and know better than that.