KA Fred Galvez was a dutiful brother in the Iglesia ni Kristo, and whenever he sends me anything on Facebook where we continue to be friends, I consider that an invaluable thought. Yesterday, he sent me this piece, with a plea at the end for it to be passed on to friends and relations. I find the article worth the plea, so here it is:
“From Dr. Aderemi Akin.
“Last month I attended the annual training session that’s required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session, there were presentations by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim [faiths]who each explained their beliefs.
“I was particularly interested in what the Islamic [representative]had to say. The Muslim gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video. After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.
“When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Muslim and asked: ‘Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most imams and clerics of Islam have declared a jihad (holy war) against the infidels of the world and that by killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?’
“There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, ‘Non-believers!’
“I then responded, ‘So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?’
“The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
“He sheepishly replied, ‘Yes.’
“I then stated, ‘Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine the Pope can command all Catholics to kill those of your faith or in addition, Dr. Stanley ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven.’
“The Muslim was speechless.
“I continued, ‘I also have a problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me!’
“Let me ask you a question: ‘Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and He wants you to be there with me too?’
“You could have heard a pin drop as the imam hung his head in shame.
“Needless to say, the organizers or promoters of the ‘diversification’ training seminar were not happy with my way of dealing with the Islamic imam, and exposing the naked truth about the evil in Muslims’ beliefs.
“Bro and Sisters please, for Christ’s sake, pass it on! Thanks.”
A problem of faith
A check with the Internet showed this to be an article originally published by the website Nairaland Forum with the title, “Death to the Infidels” by, indeed, Dr. Aderemi Akin, whom however I have no authority at the moment to speak of.
It is the content of the article that got me deciding to publish it in this column. This was a topic of a recent discussion I had with Manila Media bureau chief Diego Cagahastian, who advanced the opinion that the current Marawi City crisis is a problem of faith – the faith that deals death as punishment for those who apostatize or who get out of the belief.
Summation of Islam
Diego introduced me to the views of a writer named Christopher Hitchens, whom he considers an authority on Islam. I came upon this article of the writer, “The God-fearing People” with the subtitle, “Why are we so afraid of offending Muslims?”
The article gives a good summation of the Muslim faith. Hitchens writes:
“Unless I am wrong, a sincere Muslim need only affirm that there is one god, and only one, and that the Prophet Mohammed was his messenger, bringing thereby the final words of God to humanity. Certain practices are supposed to follow this affirmation, including a commitment to pray five times a day, a promise to pay a visit to Mecca if such a trip should be possible, fasting during Ramadan, and a pious vow to give alms to the needy.
The existence of djinns, or devils, is hard to disavow because it was affirmed by the prophet. An obligation of jihad is sometimes mentioned, and some quite intelligent people argue about whether “holy war” is meant to mean a personal struggle or a political one. No real Islamic authority exists to decide this question, and those for whom the personal is highly political have recently become rather notorious.
“Thus, Islamic belief, however simply or modestly it may be stated, is an extreme position to begin with. No human being can possibly claim to know that there is a God at all, or that there are, or were, any other gods to be repudiated. And when these ontological claims have collided, as they must, with their logical limits, it is even further beyond the cognitive capacity of any person to claim without embarrassment that the lord of creation spoke his ultimate words to an unlettered merchant in seventh-century Arabia. Those who utter such fantastic bragging, however many times a day they do so, can by definition have no idea what they are talking about. (I hasten to add that those who boast of knowing about Moses parting the Red Sea, or about a virgin with a huge tummy, are in exactly the same position.) Finally, it turns out to be impossible to determine whether jihad means more alms-giving or yet more zealous massacre of, say, Shiite Muslims.
“Why, then, should we be commanded to ‘respect’ those who insist that they alone know something that is both unknowable and unfalsifiable? Something, furthermore, that can turn in an instant into a license for murder and rape? As one who has occasionally challenged Islamic propaganda in public and been told that I have thereby “insulted 1.5 billion Muslims,” I can say what I suspect—which is that there is an unmistakable note of menace behind that claim. No, I do not think for a moment that Mohammed took a “night journey” to Jerusalem on a winged horse. And I do not care if 10 billion people intone the contrary. Nor should I have to. But the plain fact is that the believable threat of violence undergirds the Muslim demand for ‘respect’.”
This Hitchens piece is a slap on the face of Senator Rissa Hontiveros who recently came out with a statement ascribing nobility of intentions to the Maute Group in carrying out its carnage of Christians in Marawi City.
Muslims kill because it is an intrinsic aspect of Islam for its believers to kill infidels, and as the imam in the Akin story admits, this is what jihad is simply all about: killing all non-believers.
In a sense, Diego is right in saying that the problem in Marawi City is a problem of faith. But the greater problem is that Islam has fallen captive to a force that over the years has effectively used the faith in advancing its interest in geopolitics.
(To be continued tomorrow)