Newsletter #67 – Freedom Forum Part VPosted: February 21, 2013
In his 2001 forward to “Finding Common Ground”, John Siegenthaler wrote:
“Almost weekly now, U. S. citizens read in newspapers or see on television reports of ‘Muslim terrorist’ threats or attacks aimed at some ‘enemy of Islam.’ The news-media drumbeat has led many of us to the false impression that the Muslim faith is a religion built on a foundation of violence and fanaticism.
Nowhere have most of us been taught about the history of Islam or what Muslims today actually believe. We know little about the vision of Muhammad in 610 that began with the revelations known as the Qur’an, accepted by millions of Muslims throughout the world as the word of Allah or God. We are unaware that it is from this experience that the faith of Islam had its beginning. More than 1300 years later American school children, who read and hear about the growing influence of the Islamic world on our lives, learn very little about the Prophet Muhammad or the religious traditions of Muslims.
If those words had modest meaning in November 1994—and I think they did—they should have bell-ringing resonance since the tragedy that befell the nation that violent Tuesday morning. It no longer is a question of whether schools should teach children about Islam. They must teach them—and about other religions as well. It is a responsibility, a duty.”
Fine, but what students are taught about Islam depends on the goal. If the goal is to help students develop critical thinking skills, then Siegenthaler and Haynes need to admit that there is more to know about Islam than what the Council on Islamic Education want students to know. For example, were students to study the Medinan parts of the Quran they would learn how Muhammad’s legacy as a political warrior and the atrocities that he and his followers committed, were considered sacred acts. This history lesson could really shed some light on the Islam the world is experiencing today.
Charles Haynes in defense of religious liberty
Writing about religious liberty and freedom of conscience, Haynes cites a Pew Forum report that identified Saudi Arabia and Iran as the worst offenders. Could it possibly be because these countries follow Shariah law?
Haynes says that the U.N. should address this problem by advancing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Unfortunately, Haynes ignores the fact that in 1990 the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries replaced the UDHR with the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights.
The OIC represents the 56 Islamic countries that have a permanent delegation to the United Nations and constitute the largest single voting bloc. The OIC and the Muslim Brotherhood are the two leading proponents of global shariah law. Consistent with this end goal any and all rights recognized in the Cairo Declaration are governed by Shariah law. Since 1999 in keeping with the Cairo Declaration the OIC has pushed relentlessly for a shariah-compliant global blasphemy law.
In July 2012, with the support of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the OIC surpassed all earlier efforts with the passage of U.N. resolution 16/18– the language and goal of which is to criminalize any criticism of Islam. (Hillary making up for past Muslim wrongs?)
Even though Haynes and his First Amendment Center colleague, Ken Paulson condemn defamation of religion resolutions, they make no connection between the beliefs and demands of the OIC which represents the world’s majority of Muslims, and the beliefs and demands of Muslims living in the United States.
Does Haynes think that the Quran used in the U.S. is somehow different than the one used in an OIC member country? Does he think that the Shariah law that drives the demand for a global blasphemy law only applies to Muslims living outside the U.S.?
Seems he does.