The Two Way Street

Politics for a New Generation

451º Fahrenheit- The Temperature at Which Al Qaida Gets an Influx of Formerly Moderate Recruits


To Morgan Friedman on Facebook:

The first amendment states “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, the press, the right of the people peaceably to assemble, or petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Therefore, the same amendment that protects the rash and dangerous actions of a pastor from a small Florida church also protects the religion of islam. I have a challenge for you: before you burn that Koran, read it. Don’t allow yourself to be misinformed by others, read it and decide for yourself. If you don’t like what’s inside it, feel free to burn it, just please don’t video-tape it, for the safety of our troops abroad. I’m a devout christian who has taken it upon herself to read the holy books of all the major religions. One is only a true christian until he/she has examined his or her faith and others and chosen to come back to christianity based on the divine truth discovered on the journey. during my reading of the Koran, I realized just how horribly bastardized the islam practiced by Al Qaida, Hamas, the Taliban, and other extremist books really is. The Koran, while not in fact the divine word you or I recognize, preaches peace, love and TOLERANCE OF OTHER RELIGIONS. Al Qaida takes advantage of illiterate, under-educated muslims, blames the west for their under-education/poverty, and turns almost the entire religion on its head, using quotes that are taken grossly out of context. Not only that, but the Koran contains the entire christian bible inside its pages, though, often in arabic, not latin or vernaculars. Finally, Jesus preached turning the other cheek and loving thy neighbor and thy enemy. though we, on a national scale, certainly cannot sit back while extremists ransack our nation, we need to extend love and salvation to the muslims, especially the innocent children who have done nothing wrong but be born by a family with misguided ideals. Islam was originally, and in mainstream practice, still is, a religion of peace and love. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself.

An elaboration on the “rash and dangerous actions of the pastor of a small Florida church”:

Think of it this way: you are what you worship. Islam in its true form and its many bastardizations aside, muslims worship from the Koran. Therefore, when you set fire to a Koran, you set fire anti-american sentiments in ordinarily moderate muslims. Mohammad created the idea of the jihad, the term now used interchangeably with “act of terror”, to refer to a struggle taking place to defend the religion of islam. Extremists perverted this term, as well as the rest of the religion, to fit their political agenda, attacking the west. The short version if this political story is that Bin Ladin was trained by the CIA in the 1980s to fight in the Mujahadeen against Russia. He was originally from Saudi Arabia. But, after the war, he returned to Saudi Arabia, to find (quite justly, in fact) that the Sauds were not good rulers of his country, and persisted in trying to overthrow them. The US is dependent on Saudi oil, so, we backed up Saudi Arabia when they decided to exile him. Over a decade and much hardship later, Bin Laden is (if he’s still alive) infatuated with getting revenge on the united states and the west. He uses twisted evidence to back up to his “jihadis” that Islam has been attacked. Which brings us, after a long and tangental journey, back to the burning of Korans: if a group of americans are to burn the Koran, they are directly attacking Islam, not just the fringe idiots, which, by the way, exist in nearly every religion. If this happens, moderates will have real justification for Jihad, and, Al Qaida will have a sudden, enormous influx of recruits. Would you not react with anger and hatred to someone who burnt a Bible or a Torah? Attacking a political movement is fine. Attacking a movement within a religion is also fine. But If you attack a religion itself, (especially with such deep roots in your own), you will inspire a strong, hateful reaction, ending in death, destruction, and despair, and leaving no chance for peace, love, tolerance, or redemption. And isn’t that what all of our religions are about in the first place?


Author: Julia

I'm a seventeen-year-old college student at Simon's Rock of Bard in Western Mass. I'm a writer and an aspiring journalist.

4 thoughts on “451º Fahrenheit- The Temperature at Which Al Qaida Gets an Influx of Formerly Moderate Recruits

  1. Thanks for the reply. Had I read your response here first, I would not have sent a private message to your NaNo site to inform you of my previous post on this subject. Now I feel stupid.

    It’s not my intent to maintain a running dialogue with you on your NaNo site. Rather, I prefer my responses to be here. Besides, you have a wealth of writing buddies to encourage, and among them you have Lee, an ML here in Maryland. I can’t think of anyone better than she is to have in your corner.

    Yes, there are contradictions on the Bible. Saying that will not set well among some of your friends. Our Old Testament was written over a period of a thousand years. There are double traditions sometimes woven together. David flees Saul and takes refuge with the priests, who keep the Ark of the Covenant, saying he is alone on the king’s business. When the high priest says he is changing the tabernacle’s show bread, he offers the old bread to eat. David then says his men with him are ritually clean and can eat it with him.

    Knowing what I know, it would scare me if there were no contradictions in the Bible. At some point the Hebrews considered their writing to be sacred and made it a point to transmit it as is rather than edit it extensively.

    Without going further into its endless list of textual difficulties, I have perceived an overall compelling message in the Bible and have responded in faith as you have. I can hold my own with any atheist, who wants to challenge me on its content.

    Much as I said about Islam, my cardiologist is Muslim. I found her to be so refreshingly amiable that I asked if she could also take my wife as a patient. We’re crazy about her.

    The two sites referenced below are of Bolahun, Liberia, where I did my Peace Corps service in the 1960’s. One site is by a former student of mine, now a physician here in Maryland. The other is by Fatorma Bolay, grandson of the town chief in the 1960’s, known as Bolay the Carpenter.

    Christmas in Bolahun draws local Chrisians, Muslims, and pagans to have fun. The creatures, originally called Bush Devils, are of the Poro Society (the older Sande Society for the women). Like Chinese dragons, they are not considered evil. There are three Devils with crocodile mouths. In the 1960’s, I saw only one like that at Christmas and not nearly as many people in the 1960’s as in the photos of last Chrismas.

    It was good to see so many people having fun for a change since their devastating civil war.

    The Order of the Holy Cross, later assisted by the Sisters of St. Helena, ran the mission and schools there from 1922 to 1986. The school was devastated by their Civil War from 1990 to 2003, but former students now pastor St. Mary’s Church there and have also resurrected their schools. The student body is double what it was during my service there.

    Frogive me for getting off topic.

    Incidentally, the Florda pastor was looney to threaten to burn a Koran.

  2. I have a friend who is Muslim and she almost got kidnapped when she was doing relief work in Haiti. I feel as though your generalization is a bit too broad. As the Bible, the Koran is full of contradictions. Just as in the old testament versus the new testament, God changes his personality many times in the Koran. And simply the fact that they accept Jesus as a prophet proves that they have some love in them. In any case, as Christians, it is our duty to love everyone, and the pastor in Florida certainly failed at that.

  3. My Peace Corps service over forty years ago brought me in near daily contact with many fine Muslims. Yet I respectfully disagree that you will find the entire Christian message within the Holy Koran.

    They both indeed share the same eschatology. Like the Bible, the Koran holds that people originally worshipped God, and that pagan religions were a later perversion. It includes many Old Testament prophets but includes both Adam and King David among them. There is also a Last Judgment in which Jesus the Messiah will return. Often the Koran calls on believers to “remember” when referring to many familiar events in the Old Testament. It so says that God knows one’s heart and promotes virtues. On one occasion it speaks of things happening in a “twinkling of the eye.” It speaks of the Spirit of Holiness.

    The Koran also says Abraham allowed Sarah to drive Hagar with his son Ishmael into the wilderness. But the angel shows his mother life-giving water at Mecca instead of Beersheba.

    Although the Koran praises devout Christians, it explicitly rejects Jesus as God’s Son. Islam observes dietary restrictions as holy, but such restrictions for Jews are a punishment. Jesus was not crucified, lest the Jews should boast they slew the Messiah, but God rescued him by a miracle from the cross.

    Like the Bible, the Koran claims special revelation. But since it was compiled within the lifetimes of Mohammed’s followers, little of it borrows directly from previous holy writings—except for extra-Biblical material Christian and Jews did not canonize.

    From the post-Biblical pseudepigraphia, the Haggadah, associated with the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds (4th and 6th centuries) we find the story of Satan’s Fall: he’s an angel who refuses to humble himself to Adam, God’s creation. (The passage quotes Isaiah 14:14, where the prophet clearly speaks to the King of Babylon. “Literalists” believe Isaiah is quoting Satan. John Milton’s Paradise Lost reinforces the notion. But if the story of Satan’s Fall comes down to us in written form centuries after Isaiah, Satan is quoting Isaiah.) That story is in the Koran but not really in the Bible.

    The Koran also borrows from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (the boy Jesus breathing life into twelve clay birds), and in the First Infancy Gospel (Jesus speaking from the cradle).
    But it’s what is not in the Koran that concerns me.

    It lacks love.

    In the Bible’s Old Testament it’s missing now and then.

    There’s no love where Samuel hacks Agag to pieces, when Joshua sacks Jericho, Elijah’s kills priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel, or Jehu massacres worshippers in the house of Baal and turns it into a latrine?

    But love gets out now and then.

    In Ezekiel God does “not desire the death of the wicked.” Jonah cannot understand why God doesn’t destroy Nineveh. But God says “Should not I pity Nineveh…?”
    Mohammed in his whole revelation does not love sinners as Jesus does.

    It has no Jesus to keep a mob from stoning the woman caught in the act of adultery. (The Old Testament law of a husband’s jealousy was a dead letter by Jesus’ time. But in Iran it’s alive and well since 632.) In it God’s love is conditional. It never says “…He first loved us.”

    By contrast Biblical gender bias is challenged in Galatians 3:28 : “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ.”

    The original theocracy in the Bible means no human has total power over others. It supports modern republican democracy, but we’re still waiting for Islamic nations to recognize God’s unalienable rights for non-Muslims.

    Rather, the Koran echoes the spirit of the writer, who tells of Samson. After Samson brings down the temple of Dagon on himself and the Philistines, the writer celebrates the fact that Samson’s dying killed more enemies when he was living.

    But there is one more thing I wish you to consider.

    If Islam is a religion of peace, where are its acts of mercy toward non-believers in its 1378 years?

    Examples ought to be legion—staggering–in contrast to past armed conquests of North Africa, Spain, Constantinople, and of Zoroastrian Persia.

    Did an Imam step up and protect Jews from the Nazi’s in Yugoslavia in the same way the United States protected Muslims in the Balkans from “ethnic cleansing?”

    Where was a Muslim, whose efforts were as noteworthy as that of Pope Pius XII, who protected the Jews during World War II?

    Where is the Muslim, as in Schlinder’s List, who risked his life saving non-Muslims?

    I ask humbly: Cannot Islam give the world righteousness without religious self-righteousness?

  4. Screw that pastor. He’s a man of religion. He, of all people, should be tolerant of other religions.

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