Preaching Hate


  A recent criminal case in Virginia threw some light on a worrisome aspect of Muslim life in America. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a U.S. citizen, was charged with working with al-Qaeda in an attempt to assassinate President Bush. Abu Ali's family and friends have protested that the accused is a model young man and valedictorian of his high-school class. But it turns out that Abu Ali's high-school career at a private Islamic school might not be the wisest thing for his family to mention. According to the Associated Press, "The private school's teachings have come under scrutiny since the September 11 attacks. Federal court documents in a case against another academy graduate suspected of terrorism indicate that student discussions following September 11 took an anti-American bent and that some students considered the attacks legitimate 'payback' for American mistreatment of the Muslim world." Unfortunately, such indoctrination is far from rare in the United States. The Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House has compiled a booklet titled "Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques." The report highlights a problem that ought to be of concern to Americans, Muslim and non- Muslim alike: that is, publications published or sponsored by the Saudi government are indeed being widely distributed by American mosques and Islamic centers. The Saudi government and the publications promote an especially virulent brand of Islam known as Wahhabism -- the foundation for al-Qaeda. Even though theirs is only one of numerous sects of Islam, the Saudis have cast themselves as the premier religious authorities. And the literature that they distribute, available in mosques in major U.S. cities, calls for retribution against Muslims who disagree with them, as well as against Christians and Jews. Here's a sample from a book distributed by a Los Angeles mosque: "Be dissociated from the infidels, hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law. . . There is consensus on this . . . whoever helps unbelievers against Muslims, . . . he is an unbeliever himself." Oh, my. Obviously, there's no law against religious authorities teaching their followers that they alone practice the one true religion -- Christians do this, saying that Christ is the only way to God. The problem arises when they teach their followers to treat all others outside their sect as enemies and when they preach violence. One Saudi publication advocates the killing of Muslims who commit sexual sins. Others refer to jihad against society as the obligation of all Muslims. To bring attention to this problem is not to condemn Muslims as a whole. The Freedom House project, in fact, was inspired by "a number of Muslims and other experts [who] publicly raised concerns about Saudi state influence on American religious life." These Muslims know what we all need to take into account: that a hate-filled worldview can have deadly consequences. Our government must realize that the war on terror can never be effectively carried out without addressing this problem right in our midst here at home: the schools and mosques that preach an ideology of terror. Free speech has its limits.


Chuck Colson


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