Category Archives: Islam

Can Islam Really Function in Democracy?

THis one is a bit long, but well worth the read.
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WSJ 7/23/2016

First Egypt and now Turkey show the perils of ideological religious parties (and strongman rule), but other Muslim countries are faring better with democracy.

BY YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

IN 1999, a former mayor of Istanbul named Recep Tayyip Erdogan was imprisoned and banned from politics for life for reciting a poem. “Our minarets are our bayonets, our domes are our helmets, our mosques are our barracks,” the incriminating lines went. “My reference is Islam. If I am not able to speak of this, what is the use of living?” The ban on Mr. Erdogan didn’t stick. Now Turkey’s president (and prime minister for 11 years before that), he is presiding over a nationwide purge of suspected enemies after the failure last week of a military coup against his government.

For decades, in much of the Middle East, Islamist politicians like Mr. Erdogan weren’t able to speak out— and, when they did, they frequently faced a prison cell or a hangman’s noose. From Algeria to Egypt to Turkey, the apparatus of the state repeatedly unleashed repression— of varying degrees of harshness—to marginalize political Islam, crushing democratic freedoms while offering the excuse of preserving secular values. The West, preferring the autocratic devils it knew over the Islamists it didn’t, often concurred.

In response, many of the Islamist movements that sprang up under the influence of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—groups that include Mr. Erdogan’s party—have gradually embraced the language of pluralism and the idea of democratic politics and elections. Crucially, however, these modern Islamists have often viewed democracy not as a value in itself but merely as a tactic to bring about a “true” Islamic order. To them, the voting booth was simply the most feasible way to dismantle the postcolonial, secular systems that, in the eyes of their followers, had failed to bring justice or development to ordinary Muslims.

In 2005, Mr. Erdogan—then serving as Turkey’s prime minister and acclaimed for improving the country’s human-rights record and pushing forward its bid for membership in the European Union—let slip on a trip to Australia that he viewed democracy just as “a vehicle.”

In the subsequent decade, Mr. Erdogan has extinguished major centers of opposition in Turkey’s bureaucracy, media, military and judiciary. In the wake of the failed coup—itself a vivid confirmation that his suspicions weren’t unfounded—he has launched a crackdown on tens of thousands of potential opponents, including detaining nearly 9,000 people since the collapse of the plot. “All the checks and balances have now been eliminated,” said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In Egypt, hopes for democracy were high in the wake of the 2011 demonstrations in Tahrir Square that helped to topple longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. But the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, took just a few months after being elected in 2012 to start ominously consolidating his rule, granting himself immunity from judicial oversight. His power grab was cut short by a successful military coup the following year, which installed the country’s current strongman, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. His regime has quickly proven more repressive even than Mr. Mubarak’s.

This cycle of conflict—between the entrenched “deep state,” dominated by a country’s military and security establishments, and Islamist parties eager to grab as much power as possible whenever elected due to their wholly legitimate fears that they won’t otherwise be allowed to govern—has been a major reason why democracy has failed to take root in the Middle East.

Tainted by their associations with the West or the autocratic regimes long in power, liberal and secular parties have struggled to emerge as a third option in much of the region. And democracy, after all, is a tough proposition when neither of the two major forces now shaping the Middle East’s politics—the old-guard autocrats and the Islamist movements—truly believes in it.

The democratic exception to this rule is Tunisia, the one Arab democracy to emerge from the Arab revolutions of 2011. It is the only country now rated as “free” by Freedom House, a U.S. organization that analyzes civil liberties and political rights, out of the 17 Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and North Africa. That’s the worst record for any region.

“There is a lot to be done before democracy has a chance. Education, pluralistic ideas and consensus-building are in short supply in many of these countries,” said Hassan Hassan, a fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, D.C.

This democracy problem is linked not so much with Islam, an ancient religion, as with political Islam—a modern ideology developed in 20th-century Egypt, in part, to redress the Middle East’s backwardness compared with the West. Its founding fathers in the Muslim Brotherhood met violent deaths—Hassan al-Banna was gunned down in 1949, Sayyid Qutb was hanged by the Egyptian government in 1966—but their ideas took root throughout the Middle East after the repeated failures of autocratic regimes that preached the rival ideas of socialism and Arab nationalism. Offshoots of the Brotherhood now represent the dominant political movements from Morocco to Turkey to the Gaza Strip.

But the Muslim world is more than the Middle East. And the further one travels from the Middle East’s core, the less relevant this strain of political Islam tends to become. The world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, has been a successful democracy since 1999. Conservative Islamist parties have remained at the margins of power, and local demands for more religious rule have been addressed through decentralization.

“Even though we are mostly Muslim, the way we practice Islam has very local characteristics. We in Indonesia like to live together in diversity; we are different, and this has created a challenge here for Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood,” explained Samsul Maarif, a scholar at the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies of Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, on the Indonesia island of Java.

Islamist political parties have also consistently failed at the ballot box in Pakistan, the world’s second-most-populous Muslim country. That is one reason why Islamist radicals in Pakistan have embraced the strategy of terrorism instead. Even though Pakistan’s army still retains considerable influence over foreign and security affairs, democratic politics has consolidated there since the end of direct military rule in 2008. The 2013 election led to the country’s first handover of power between rival parties. Outside the Middle East, democracy has also worked, at least so far, in Muslim-majority nations as diverse as Senegal and Albania.

But political ideas tend to travel from the Muslim world’s core to its periphery, not the other way around. A decade ago, the West African nation of Mali was often held up as the freest Muslim democracy, a potential inspiration for democrats in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. Fast forward to 2012, and Mali’s democracy collapsed under the onslaught of Islamist radicals who had emulated the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Arguments about the role of religion— and divinely inspired morality—in public life are hardly unique to Muslim societies, of course. Established Western democracies have grappled with these issues too, and not always gracefully. During the lifetimes of many older Americans, after all, it has been a felony to sell alcohol or to engage in adultery or homosexual sex.

But Islam is a religion whose founder established a successful empire instead of dying on the cross. As a result, it offers a far more detailed prescription than Christianity of how government and society should be run. “The Quran is our constitution,” runs the Muslim Brotherhood’s historic slogan.

As such, politicians and voters who believe in the primacy of Islamic law inevitably find themselves in conflict with the principle of democracy whenever a majority favors a different path. This, after all, is why more radical groups, such as Islamic State, have rejected democracy outright as an infidel heresy.

After its 1979 revolution, Iran purported to reconcile this conundrum by establishing its “Islamic Republic.” Yet the Iranian system— in which the country’s Shiite clerical establishment retains supreme authority—has turned the country’s democratic institutions and elected officials into a sideshow whenever major decisions are made. Ultimate power rests with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not with parliament. As the Iranian constitution explicitly states, all laws and regulations “must be based on Islamic criteria”—which are up to the clerics.

The Iranian Revolution also led to a hardening sectarian divide across the region that has proven to be another obstacle to democratic politics. Sunni Saudi Arabia, whose legitimacy as the custodian of Islam’s holiest sites is hotly contested by the theocracy that runs Shiite Iran, has fought back by fomenting anti-Shiite sentiment and funding proxy battles with Iranian allies from Yemen to Syria. (Most Muslims are Sunnis.) More recently, Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have backed Mr. Sisi’s coup in Egypt. The Gulf states, fearing for their own rule, were particularly hostile to the democratic experiment in Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring began. Tunisia remains the only country where the heady initial hopes for freedom haven’t been dashed by a military takeover (as in Egypt), a bloody crackdown (as in Bahrain) or chaos and civil war (as in Syria, Yemen and Libya).

Tunisia became the region’s lone beacon of Arab democracy largely thanks to the wisdom shown by the local spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ennahda Party. After the 2013 Egyptian coup, Ennahda, then essentially running Tunisia’s government, took an unusually pragmatic approach. It compromised on the role of Islam in society during sessions to draft the country’s new constitution and accepted an election that voted the party out.

“We may lose power, but Tunisia will win,” Ennahda’s leader, Rached Ghannouchi, recently told his party’s congress. Tunisia, he added, was able to avoid the carnage that followed the other Arab Spring revolutions by “adopting the principle of dialogue, acceptance of the other and avoidance of exclusion and revenge.” That prescription has proven especially hard to apply in countries such as Syria and Iraq. With borders carved on the map by European colonialists, they have been run for much of their modern histories by dictatorial regimes that masked minority rule with a secular facade. Sunni-majority Syria has long been run by the Alawite-dominated Assad tyranny, and Shiite-majority Iraq was held under the boot of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni dictatorship.

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 introduced majority rule, the country quickly fell into Shiite sectarian dominance—especially under former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose refusal to heed Sunni concerns pushed many of them into Islamic State’s embrace. In Syria, Alawites and other minorities continue backing President Bashar al-Assad despite his brutality, fearing that the advent of Sunni majority rule wouldn’t just disempower them but perhaps lead to their extermination. In pivotal countries like Turkey and Egypt, both important U.S. partners, the political struggle has also become a zero-sum game. In this environment, the U.S. and its European allies have precious few instruments left to promote a democratic agenda, especially after the Obama administration worked to reduce its involvement in the Middle East and the antidemocratic powers of Russia and China tried to expand their influence. In Egypt, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries under stress, “leaders have been able to define societal struggles in existential terms,” said Steven Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “What can a U.S. president or secretary of state do in those circumstances? Not much.” Memories in the region are long, and few people have forgotten how, in the past, the West often sided with dictators such as Mr. Mubarak in Egypt, accepting the autocrats’ argument that the only alternative to their corrupt but secular rule was theocratic tyranny by bearded fanatics. It also didn’t help that, in 2013, Egypt’s secularists and liberals enthusiastically welcomed Mr. Sisi’s coup— only to be targeted themselves by the wave of repression that followed his takeover.

The West has often struggled to balance its ideals and its interests. The U.S. has offered only the mildest of criticisms of Mr. Sisi’s abuses, and in 1991, key Western countries, especially France, appeared to welcome the decision by Algeria’s rulers to abort a second round of elections that seemed sure to be won by an Islamist party. The Algerian coup sparked a civil war that claimed as many as 200,000 lives, convincing many previously peaceful Islamists that power can only be gained with bullets and bombs—and directly contributing to the rise of al Qaeda.

Turkey a week ago stood on the verge of following a similar route. “It’s hard to be optimistic about Turkey. But if the coup had succeeded, it would have offered further definitive proof that Islamists can’t take power in democratic elections or can’t stay in power through democratic elections,” said Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of a new book, “Islamic Exceptionalism.” “That would have sent a dangerous message that ISIS and other extremist groups benefit from: that the only way to achieve anything is through brute force.”

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Poll: Unease of Islam Growing in EU

Sometimes I can’t believe it has taken this long. Of course, the liberal left, with its dominance in the media, likely have a significant impact filtering what might be a significantly wide-spread unease.
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In France

France is waking up.

Breitbart reports that “an Ifop poll for Le Figaro measuring perceptions of Islam has found that people have a growing sense of unease about its role in France.”

And well they should. What is different now is that people are actually saying it: “What’s notable about the results is that where once such sentiments were perceived as the preserve of the ‘extreme right’, they are now felt across the political spectrum. Back in 2010, 39 per cent of Socialist Party voters felt Islam was too prominent within French society — a majority of 52 per cent feel this to be the case six years on.”

Despite the smear, libel, and defamation that is directed toward anyone who dares any criticism of Islam, people across the political spectrum are voicing concern about an immigrant population that refuses to assimilate and instead seeks to impose its ready-made model of society and governance that they believe to be superior to that which France already has.

The elites will no longer be able to frame this as a “far-right” issue (what does that mean anyway — the Nazis were leftists: National Socialists). In Muslim countries such as Bangladesh, devout Muslims hack you to pieces if you criticize Islam. Here in the West, Islamic supremacists and their leftist lapdogs hack your name and your reputation to pieces. Hate groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) work feverishly to murder your good name.

The French paper Le Figaro says the poll confirms a “total rejection” of the religion in France, after its capital in 2015 saw two deadly jihad terror attacks. But it’s not just Brussels, Paris, Chattanooga, Garland, San Bernardino – it’s the burning cars, the vicious anti-semitism, the restrictions on our freedoms.

Any criticism of Islam is met with accusations of “islamofauxbia.” Islamic law forbids criticism of Islam, the Qur’an, and Muhammad. If they cannot be criticized in the United States, we are in effect accepting Islamic law as overriding the freedom of speech. This would establish Muslims as a protected class and prevent honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism.

“Islamophobia”: this term amounts to little more than the enforcement of Sharia in the marketplace of ideas. Any criticism of jihad terror that examines its ideological roots in Islam is called Islamophobia. The word is used to intimidate people into thinking there is something wrong with opposing jihad terror.

Of course, such poll results are nevertheless met with these claims of “Islamophobia” and backlashophobia. According to Breitbart, “Anouar Kbibech, Chairman of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, responded to the survey’s results saying that negative perceptions of Islam cause distress to Muslims living in France.”

This is the knee-jerk response to every jihad attack and criticism of Islam. The Muslim community and the Muslim world never turn inward and say, “We must address all this slaughter and supremacism in the cause of Islam across the world. There is something in Islam that drives these wars, hatred, bigotry, and misogyny.”

No, never. Instead, we always get a defense of Islamic doctrine. Anouar Kbibech says that the French have to look upon Muslims as full citizens. Of course they are, which is why they have wreaked such havoc in that country. But what’s interesting is that Kbibech demands that which is denied to non-Muslims in Muslim countries. Non-Muslims in Muslim lands, according to Islamic law, must live as dhimmis, paying a special Qur’an-mandated tax (jizya) and suffering institutionalized, legalized discrimination, solely because they are non-Muslims.

If Muslims want to be welcomed into Western societies, they must accept our values and way of life and freedoms. Islam and Islamic government are a unique threat to free speech and liberty. Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced. Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not bear being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed while everyone else lives in fear, while other groups curtail their activities to appease the violent group. This results in the violent group being able to tyrannize the others — which is what we are seeing in the West, with the Charlie Hebdo jihad murders, the attack on our free speech event in Garland, Texas, and more.

We will see the sentiments reflected in this poll spread across Europe and the West as Muslim populations grow, especially after this migratory onslaught. It won’t be pretty.

Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of PamelaGeller.com and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here.

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/05/04/pamela-geller-poll-shows-total-rejection-islam-france-across-political-spectrum/

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Let’s Stop It Before It’s Too Late

From my friend Bob Ruble.  If you don’t ready anything else today, read this.
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More than 120 people braved the snow and ice Monday to rally in front of the Missoula County Courthouse, protesting an effort by the Obama administration and its army of community organizers to plant foreign “refugees” into small cities in western Montana.

One of the speakers was a woman who moved recently to Montana from Amarillo, Texas, which has been inundated with thousands of refugees over the past 15 years.

“Amarillo is overrun with refugees,” said Karen Sherman, who stood and spoke to the crowd amid blowing wind and falling snowflakes. Sherman just moved to Missoula, a college town that serves as home to the University of Montana.

It’s a far cry from Amarillo, which she described as a city of rampant crime and cracking social fabric, thanks to the heavy influx of refugees sent there by the U.S. State Department in cooperation with the United Nations.

“Our city is failing because of the refugees. We have 22 different languages spoken in our schools. We’ve got 42 languages being fielded by our 9-1-1 call centers, and crime is just through the roof. We need to exercise caution, especially for the sake of our children,” she said.

The protesters carried signs that read, “Christian Refugees 2 Christian Nations, Muslim Refugees 2 Muslim Nations, That’s Only Fair,” and “Refugee Resettlement Means Big $$$$$ – No Accountability.”

Sherman said Amarillo, a city of just more than 200,000 people, has gang violence that has surpassed that of much larger Texas cities such as Fort Worth. She fears U.S. cities like Amarillo and Minneapolis, Minnesota, could be in line to become the next Rotherham, England, or Cologne, Germany, or Stockholm, Sweden, where mass rapes by Muslim men have gained much attention in Europe.

Amarillo was recently named the fifth most dangerous city in Texas, according to FBI crime statistics, up from sixth last year. And it has been nationally recognized as having one of the highest rates of rape in the nation.

That’s a dubious distinction that Sherman believes is tied to the high number of Muslim refugees shipped there by the U.S. government.

“The rape epidemic in this world is becoming pandemic. It’s not confined to one location. Fifteen years ago in Norway, rape was unheard of. Now it’s an epidemic,” Sherman said. “The perpetrators are 100 percent Muslim males. In Sweden, rape has gone up by 500 percent. Stockholm recently had the dubious honor of opening their very first rape center for men and boys.”

In the northern U.K. city of Rotherham, more than 1,400 children have been beaten, raped and trafficked in a well-documented turn of events that has gone largely unreported in the U.S.

“It was covered up by the local government for fear of being viewed as racist. This only came to light because a journalist decided we needed to know about that, not the government,” she said, referring to the rape scandal that unraveled in England in 2014, when it was revealed by media that gangs of mostly Pakistani men had been sexually assaulting English girls for years while police covered it up for fear of being perceived as “anti-Muslim.”

“You can have female equality, or you can have refugees. You cannot have both,” Sherman said.

Pamela Geller wrote the field manual for activists seeking to protect their community from Islamic supremacy encroachment in “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.”

Too late to save Texas? Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called for a stop to the influx of refugees, but it’s too late, she said. The program continues unabated because, if even one refugee is present in the U.S., he is entitled under current law to bring in his entire extended family.

“It’s called family reunification,” Sherman said.

She said America, founded on Judeo-Christian principles of tolerance and respect for one’s fellow man, should not expect people from Third World cultures to share those values.

“If people don’t choose to follow the law, you cannot hire enough police officers,” she said.

“Whether you believe (in the Judeo-Christian God) or not, your values and your principles were influenced by that. Now we’re asking that these people come here, who have been taught for thousands of years of violence and hatred, and we’re expecting them to come here and assimilate to our way of life,” Sherman told the crowd gathered in Missoula. “This is a dangerous and foolish expectation.”

Amarillo has received 5,251 foreign refugees since January 2002, according to the federal refugee database. That’s more than half of the nearly 8,000 refugees sent to Texas during that period.

President Obama has increased the number of foreign refugees bound for American soil in fiscal 2016 to 85,000. That’s a 20 percent increase over the previous year, and 10,000 will come from the jihadist hotbed of Syria.

WND reported last week that two groups are working to resettle Syrian refugees in Montana. One group, WorldMontana, is working in Helena and the other, Soft Landing Missoula, is working in Missoula.

Caroline Solomon drove more than 100 miles to Missoula Monday from her home in Big Fork, Montana, to participate in the rally. “About four people (from her group) didn’t make it because of weather, but we think there were about 125 people on our side and about six with signs calling us ‘racists,'” she said.

Soft Landing Missoula is working with city and county officials to bring Third World refugees to Montana while the state’s Act For America chapter and other activists are trying to stop that from happening. Soft Landing, like most of the non-governmental organizations working with the government to plant refugees into U.S. cities, is working with churches and faith-based groups behind the scenes to create an atmosphere that is more “welcoming” of refugees.

Many of the community organizers have received training or consultation from David Lubell’s Welcoming America organization, which was started with seed money from billionaire George Soros. Lubell is a close adviser to President Obama’s “New Americans” initiative, which seeks to convert millions of refugees and recent immigrants into U.S. citizens with full voting privileges.

The modus operandi used by resettlement agencies usually involves sending a handful of refugees at first and then gradually increasing the influx to hundreds per year.

Mary Poole, who represents Soft Landing, Missoula, told KGVO News Radio that many immigrants have settled in Missoula over the past 30 years. She compared the mostly Middle Eastern migrants from Muslim countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq to the Hmong refugees fleeing communist Vietnam in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

“We’ve successfully resettled a Hmong community, as well as Belorussians and Ukrainians, who are now members of our community and part of the fabric of Missoula,” Poole told KGVO. “We’re just working on revamping the infrastructure that has already existed here.”

But according to the federal database, the state of Montana has not received any refugees since 2008, and only 61 have been sent there since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Other small towns in the West have similarly struggled to oppose the plans of urban elites to import what they see as the problems of the Third World into their communities.

In Sandpoint, Idaho, City Council members voted last Wednesday to withdraw a resolution supporting refugee resettlement, bringing an end to a heated, month-long debate over whether that was a wise move. It had the full backing of Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad.

Cheers erupted from the audience when the newly elected Sandpoint mayor capitulated, asking the council to withdraw his resolution from consideration. His resolution was meant to counter statements from county commissioners and the local sheriff opposing the refugees. Rognstad said his resolution was intended to restate Sandpoint’s commitments to “human rights.”

“This resolution has only served to divide us and this community,” said Rognstad, as he requested the withdrawal. “That saddens me.” But others see the situation in reverse. They see nonprofits and NGOs, often flush with government grant money, coming in and stirring up controversy within their once-peaceful communities.

In Twin Falls, Idaho, Chobani opened the world’s largest yogurt factory and gave 30 percent of the 600 jobs to foreign refugees, and the federal government has plans to send 300 more refugees, this time from Syria, to the Twin Falls area. That touched off a backlash from a group called 3 Percent of Idaho, which organized a protest at the Idaho Statehouse in late November that attracted more than 1,000 people from both sides of the issue.

If the past record is any indication, the groups seeking to bring Third World refugees to small town America will not be easily chased off by people with signs. In fact, the pro-refugee Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, put together a field manual in 2013 on how to deal with “pockets of resistance” in the American heartland. One of the strategies in that manual is to research the backgrounds of resistors and identify them as “anti-Muslim” racists.

A WND report from May 2015 exposed the HIAS strategy to deride and intimidate any politician or activist who opposes the refuge industry’s agenda to change the demographics of a town.

The HIAS report, titled “Resettlement at Risk: Meeting Emerging Challenges to Refugee Resettlement in Local Communities,” calls for “new tools to fight back against a determined legislator or governor who has decided to challenge resettlement for political or other reasons.”

Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2016/02/so-it-begins-here-u-s-city-overrun-with-criminal-refugees/#TpjEh5BCToZShTZ5.99
http://mobile.wnd.com/2016/02/so-it-begins-here-u-s-city-overrun-with-criminal-refugees/#Q3dzQfQpOY6sTWQo.30

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I side with Wheaton. Christians and Muslims – worship the same God? That is such a stretch.
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By Stephen Prothero
WSJ Jan. 7, 2016 7:09 p.m.

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? For a month, controversy has swirled over that question at Wheaton College in Illinois. In December, Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science, was placed on administrative leave after she posted on Facebook that she was donning a head scarf through the pre-Christmas season of Advent. She wrote: “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.” Earlier this week, Wheaton began termination proceedings against Ms. Hawkins after a series of talks.

Wheaton is a Christian liberal arts institution; every year faculty and staff sign a statement of faith that affirms their shared evangelical Protestant identity. The day after Ms. Hawkins’s post, Wheaton issued a statement underscoring the “fundamental differences” between Christianity and Islam, “including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation, and the life of prayer.” The school placed her on leave not for wearing the hijab, the college later explained, but for her “theological statements,” which included the claim that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.”

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler defended Wheaton’s administration on his website, noting that Christians worship “the triune God”—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “The Quran claims that to confess Jesus Christ as the divine Son and the second person of the Trinity is to commit blasphemy against Allah,” he wrote, concluding that “one cannot deny the Son and truly worship the Father.”

Not everyone was convinced. Yale Prof. Miroslav Volf, who in a 2011 speech at Wheaton contended that Christians and Muslims worship the same God in different ways, wrote in the Washington Post that Ms. Hawkins’s suspension was about “enmity toward Muslims,” not “theology and orthodoxy.”

Should Ms. Hawkins keep her spot on the faculty? It isn’t clear that she committed a plain violation of Wheaton’s statement of faith. And the theological issues are confusing. Does the question concern who is listening when a man bows his head in prayer? If so, then all monotheists must agree that there is only one God to do the hearing. Or is the question whom we envision when we pray? In that case, consider that Christians today do not picture the same God that Constantine worshiped at his deathbed baptism in 337.

Islam and Christianity both affirm that there is one God, creator and judge, who speaks through prophets, whose words are written down in scripture. Still, they are not two paths up the same mountain. Christians do not believe in the divine inspiration of the Quran. Muslims do not believe that Jesus is an incarnation of God.

Ms. Hawkins may have hoped to respond creatively to hateful rhetoric against Muslims, which is admirable. She enjoys the liberty to believe what she pleases about God under the First Amendment. But Wheaton shares the same liberty to defend its Christian identity in a nation in which the “Star Wars” saga is more widely known than is the passion of Jesus.

No doubt Christians should strive to understand the Islamic faith fully, and vice versa. But pretend pluralism, feigning that all or most religious traditions hinge on the same truth, is no solution for the squabble at Wheaton or anywhere else.

Mr. Prothero is a professor of religion at Boston University and the author of “Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even as They Lose Elections)” (HarperOne, 2016).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/are-allah-and-jesus-the-same-god-1452211747

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