When I heard there was a indoor firing range in Hot Springs, Arkansas, only an hour away from me, and that this establishment doesn’t want Muslims there, I looked up their phone number, 1-501-767-9944, and called them. Before accusing them of Islamophobia, and threatening to urge others to boycott the place, I wanted to know if they had changed their policy to something more, well, sane.
The woman I spoke to corrected me, by telling me that her establishment was not banning Muslims, but simply making it known, on the Internet, that Muslims are not welcome there. She asked me, rather than reading all the stuff on the Internet written against her position, to read her statement at http://janmorganmedia.com/2014/09/business-muslim-free-zone/ — and I agreed to do so. Why not read her statement first? I saw no reason not to.
When I read it, I found one of the most shockingly ignorant pieces of writing on the subject of Islam which I have ever encountered. Just for starters, she uses the word “Islamist” in place of the word “Muslim,” an error I have never seen before, even though I have read plenty of disgusting anti-Islamic material. The two words don’t even have definitions which are close to each other!
Here’s a particularly appalling excerpt from the site: “I view Islam as a theocracy, not a religion. Islam is the union of political, legal, and religious ideologies. In other words, law, religion and state are forged together to form what Muslims refer to as ‘The Nation of Islam.'” (Clearly, even though she claims to have read the Qur’an in its entirety, she has not heard of such things as the long, bloody Iran-Iraq War, fought between two majority-Muslim nations, only one of which — Iran — is, or was then, a theocracy.)
In actuality, many real Muslims (and well-educated non-Muslims, also) know that the Nation of Islam (or NOI, as I call it, for clarity) is a small, non-Islamic religion founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1930 — and that there is absolutely no connection, other than a similarity in the name, between the religion called Islam, which originated in the Middle East, and the very different religion practiced by the NOI. You can find the original religion called Islam (the real one) described right here — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam — on Wikipedia, which is an objective source, precisely because anyone can edit it. If, on the other hand, you look at Wikipedia’s corresponding article on the Nation of Islam — at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_Islam — you’ll see that Islam, and the NOI, have nothing in common except for a proper noun appropriated, without justification, from a centuries-old religion. The beliefs and practices of Islam, and the NOI, are no more alike than those of, say, Christians and Hindus.
I won’t try to catalog the numerous other mistakes in the post on her website, simply because they are so plentiful, but I do encourage you to look at this appalling website for yourself — just as the woman I spoke to on the phone asked me to do. If nothing else, the numerous writing errors (for example, “Muslims” should always be capitalized, and the writer really needs to use spell-check) should convince you that this place is a hotbed of ignorance.
This place deserves to be boycotted, permanently. They also deserve to go out of business, as all bigots should. They deserve to be “called out” for their ignorance, also, and that’s exactly what I am doing in this blog-post.
Let the boycott begin! Also, please call these people, and tell them what you think of their incredibly misinformed position. Their phone number, again, is 1-501-767-9944. Places like this are not helping the world become what it needs to be — a world where Christians, Muslims, those of other faiths, and the non-religious can coexist peacefully.
[Image credit: I found the “empty head” image above, online, at http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/ani-hello.gif — and believe it to be legal to repost this image. If I am mistaken, however, I will remove it, or pay reasonable royalties, at the request of the image’s owner.]
Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
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USA love it or leave it!
There is absolutely nothing in this blog-post which implies a lack of patriotism on my part. There is also no reason to assume a lack of patriotism on the part of the millions of Muslims who are American citizens. Why do you assume that my willingness to exercise my freedom of speech — to defend the freedom of religion of others, no less, and criticize those who write factually incorrect things about them — implies a lack of love for my country?
She doesn’t look to scared of Muslims. Maybe you should learn better English. Or stop twisting words around to suit your agenda?
After seeing your comment, I re-read my blog-post above, to confirm that I did not accuse this woman of being scared of Muslims, and I did not. (If you are referring to my use of the word “Islamophobia,” let me point out that the suffix “-phobia” refers to an irrational fear or hatred of something. Also, if you Google-search “Islamophobia definition,” the first thing Google returns is this: “dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.”) I also did not twist any words. “Twisting words” is synonymous with using words incorrectly, and my writing is far more precise, and correct, than hers — or yours, for that matter. Are you aware that the last two sentences of your comment should actually be one sentence, separated by a comma, rather than a period? As written, the last of your “sentences” is actually a sentence fragment.
What I did do — and I stand by this decision — was point out the numerous errors in her article, such as using the word “Islamist” interchangeably with “Muslim,” repeatedly failing to capitalize the proper noun “Muslim,” and confusing the NOI (“Nation of Islam”), a tiny, non-Islamic religion from Detroit, Michigan, which has existed for less than a century, with Islam, a major world religion, from the Middle East, which has been around for well over a millenium. I used these facts to support my central point, which concerns ignorance (lack of knowledge), not fear. I also included a link to her article, specifically so that my readers could fact-check these things for themselves.
Poor writing is a symptom of ignorance. Also, by the way, I think you meant to use the term “too scared” in the opening sentence of your comment, but what you actually wrote was “to scared.” The words “to” and “too” are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings, and spellings. Therefore, they are not interchangeable.
You are welcome to leave more comments, if you wish, but I recommend having a well-educated third party proofread them first.
Yes, incorrect grammar (or English as the person above called it) is a symptom of ignorance. I also find the need to “correct” others on their own blog post rather than simply saying you disagree, and cogently presenting the reason WHY you disagree, is another symptom of ignorance. If Major has a point, he/she should make it. Rudeness is pointless.
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Only a fool would equate ignorance with incorrect grammar or spelling. There are many brilliant people in this world who suffer from dyslexia or any number of disabilities that affect how well they spell or construct a sentence. When one feels the need to belittle someone over spelling or grammar issues it means they have lost the argument.
The real issue here is whether or not she, by law, had to rent or sell ammunition and weapons to someone who she felt represented a threat. Gun shops have different laws than other businesses. One of the gentlemen could not prove that he was even in the United States legally which should cause concern in everyone reading the article. If they really were nervously glancing at the surveillance cameras and having whispered conversations in their native tongue, then I can completely understand why Ms. Morgan would feel threatened by them. I can completely understand why the other patrons also felt fearful of these two if they were behaving suspiciously. Ms. Morgan has a duty to ensure that the people who are renting weapons from her could also pass the security and background checks for purchasing weapons. If they would not be allowed to purchase a gun, then they should not be allowed to rent a gun. This includes people who exhibit signs of obvious mental illness, intoxication, drug use, violent tendencies, and so on. Terrorism is a very real threat in today’s world. There are terrorists living in Arkansas (and every other state), recruiting others to join them and training for attacks. It is every citizen’s duty to ensure that we do not aid them in any way, as well as report anyone who is suspicious. That means banning suspicious people from businesses that place weapons literally in their hands.
I wonder how many of you are outraged over moslem taxi drivers who are allowed to deny passengers with dogs, even if those dogs are certified service animals for the handicapped. They are allowed to openly discriminate against the handicapped because they claim their religion does not allow animals in their cars. How many of you are outraged over moslems who are allowed to deny customers the right to purchase alcohol or tobacco products even if they are of legal age because it goes against the moslem’s religious beliefs to use them, so do not want to sell them. How many of you are outraged over moslem pharmacists who are allowed to deny women the right to purchase birth control or the morning after pill because it goes against the moslem’s beliefs. Moslems are allowed to discriminate against non-moslems on a daily basis but then demand “tolerance and acceptance” from the very people they discriminate against. They issue death threats against people like Ms. Morgan who dare to stand up for their non-moslem beliefs while demanding “tolerance and acceptance” and claiming they are a “peaceful religion”. It is time to take off the politically correct blinders that you have been wearing for the last few decades. It is time to realize that while you are turning a PC-blinded eye to these thugs, they have created a hostile atmosphere (complete with death threats) against anyone who dares believe differently. It is time to demand that they follow the same rules as everyone else and to stop showing special treatment to them.
I am aware of people denying women access to such things as birth control on the basis of their religious beliefs, but every case about which I have read, in this country, involves pharmacists, or others in medically-related professions, who claim they are Christian, not Muslim.
Similarly, if there are any Muslims terrorists in Arkansas, they are vastly outnumbered by those terrorists who claim to be Christians — for example, the Ku Klux Klan organization with its headquarters near Harrison, Arkansas. Another example: radical anti-abortion groups which commit acts of violence, or harassment, against women and their doctors.
I do give you credit for writing much more skillfully than has been the case in previous comments from your side of the conversation, or the linked article by the owner of “The Gun Cave,” but I do not share your views regarding Islam and Muslims, especially locally. I have yet to meet a violent Muslim in Arkansas, nor anywhere else, and I know many Muslims, counting several among my friends (as well as numerous Christians — of the sane variety). Terrorist acts from those who claim Christianity as their religion, as opposed to Islam, are a much bigger threat to human life, and safety, in the American South. If you don’t believe this, ask a woman who has sought to exercise her reproductive rights in a way radical Christians feel they have a right with which to interfere, or a terrorized homosexual couple, or a gay teenager (many of whom are at high risk for religiously-motivated, bigoted “bullycide”), or those who have survived numerous acts of racist violence. (You can’t ask those who have not survived, sadly, and such cases do exist.) You might also try asking any interracial couple in the American South, or members of any religious minorities, or the non-religious. This is not a tolerant area of the world, nor is it a particularly rational one. For example, regarding rationality, most Southerners have yet to accept as valid such basic things as Darwin’s theory of evolution, and that is yet another symptom of ignorance.
Fortunately, dangerous, mentally-unhinged people are a minority — within both of the religions we are discussing. I am willing to distinguish between the dangerous, and the non-dangerous, within both religions, despite the fact that I have no religious affiliation, myself, as is my right. I wish you were willing to do the same.
I would also like to point out that I do not have to approve these comments here which dispute my position — yet I have chosen to, in every case. Yours has been the most coherently-written of these comments thus far, and I congratulate you for that. I do stand by my position that poor use of written language, seen in article posted by “The Gun Cave” owner, which is linked above, and in the previous comments from those on your side of this issue, is a symptom of ignorance, and have no evidence that something like dyslexia is the cause, in any of these cases. Even if I ignore the basic errors in writing, the underlying clear thinking, and logic, is simply absent. Prejudice against any group, including Muslims, is another symptom of ignorance. Also, please note that I used the term “ignorance,” not “stupidity,” and did so deliberately. Ignorance is a curable condition, and the best treatment for it is education.
As for the legal issues involved, those will likely be settled in court. I am not an attorney, and will not pretend to know the outcome of any such cases ahead of time.
Finally, you opened your comment above by stating, or at least strongly implying, that those on my side of this issue are fools. Are you aware that Matthew 5:22 (NIV) states the following? “And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Those are the translated words of Jesus of Nazareth, as written in the Bible — not my words.
I did not open my comment by stating or implying those on “your side” or “any side” of this issue are fools. That is how you chose to perceive the information but what I stated is that to assume ignorance based on spelling or grammar is foolish. It is a huge leap to get from what I plainly stated to how you perceived it, but that is your right to interpret however you wish. I am very familiar with The Sermon on the Mount. It states: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” The majority who have made statements about this case would be considered in the wrong via Matthew 5:22. The Sermon on the Mount actually states that ALL forms of hatred are sins of the heart and ALL who show it are guilty. It does not matter the degree to which the hatred is shown or which “side” the person is “on”. I have read plenty of hateful statements from BOTH sides of this argument, and there were many from BOTH sides that were poorly constructed grammatically as well as flooded with spelling issues.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone has different life experiences that shape and form ones’ opinion, and that opinion will change exponentially over ones’ lifetime due to those experiences. Your personal experience with moslems has been positive, so until that changes you have a positive viewpoint. My personal experience with moslems has not been positive. Arkansas is my home but due to my employment I have been fortunate enough to travel the world. I have traveled to nearly every state within the USA, as well as several countries abroad. I have spent quite a large amount of time in moslem-dominated areas due to my employment, and have seen the changes that occurred to appease specific groups of people. There is a reason why London is now commonly referred to as Londonstani and why Sharia courts are now legal within the UK. I challenge you to research the changes in England (London specifically) in order to appease moslem groups. Those same changes are beginning to occur within the USA. I have been to cities such as Dearborn and Detroit which cater to moslems. The discrimination against non-moslems is rampant, but excused because of political correctness run amok. We have a form of “before and after” , with the USA being the “before” and London the “after”. I challenge everyone to look at it openly and honestly, then if you would like to discuss those changes along with the effects (positive and negative) I would enjoy a pleasant debate about it.
There are terrorists from all religious beliefs within Arkansas (and every other state) which is why I stated in my previous comments “terrorists” and not “moslems”. I have never stated that only moslems are evil or bad, because I do not believe that. As for you not being aware of any moslems denying services within the USA based on their beliefs:
US Military man in uniform refused service from moslem service station owner in NOLA.
Dearborn Michigan – moslem mob launches violent physical attack on two Christian preachers because they dared to speak about Jesus and the Holy Bible in front of them. The moslems were not prosecuted on ANY level because they were “offended” by the Christian preachers’ beliefs being spoken in a public place that the moslems could hear, even though it was near a public moslem event where everyone could hear moslem beliefs.
Florida Christian ministry is forced to take down all photos and references to Jesus Christ and Christianity in general if it wants to continue to receive USDA food to give to ANY poor person in the area BUT state governments in Florida and across the US regularly give to moslem ministry food banks which are controlled by local imams and their mosques. Those moslem ministry food banks hand out free copies of the quran, as well as preach about islam while handing out their free food.
Hemet California – Two Christians were arrested and tried in court for daring to read a Bible in front of the DMV on their own personal time, yet all moslems are allowed paid time off during the day at specified prayer times (as well as specified prayer rooms) to perform their FIVE daily prayers in addition to the lunch and work breaks all workers receive.
Cleveland Ohio – Nearly 30 moslem cab drivers refuse to drive homosexual or transgendered customers during the Gay Games. They cited religious beliefs for their refusal of service.
Christians as well as moslems have been attacking abortion clinics for decades. It is one of the rare occasions where they seem to join forces. As for the morning-after pill, the moslem pharmacies have simply refused to stock the product on religious grounds. If they do not have the product, then they cannot be forced to sell it. It is a legal loophole they are exploiting.
I see where you support Darwin’s theory of evolution, and consider anyone who does not believe in it to be irrational and ignorant. If I may ask a personal, OT question, do you personally believe we descended from apes?
I accept evolution as a valid scientific theory, based on the evidence, but it does not state, nor do I believe, that we descended from apes. It is true, however, that, if you go back far enough, humans and apes have a common ancestor. In other words, they are our distant cousins — as is every other living thing on earth, according to all of the evidence found thus far.
As for the rest of your comment, I’m choosing not to respond to it at this time, for one simple reason: I am not familiar with the details of the things you described (those not related to evolution), and I don’t care to make comments about things I have not yet researched. You wrote a lot, so researching it will, of course, take time.
I do have a question, though. Since you do, obviously, know how to write well, why do you not capitalize all the proper nouns you use? You consistently capitalize proper nouns associated with Christianity, but usually use lower case letters for proper nouns associated with Islam, such as the world “Muslim.” This confuses me.
I understand that Darwin’s theory of evolution does not state that we descended from apes. That is why I asked for your personal opinion on it. If I have understood Darwin’s theory correctly, he believed that every one and every thing came from one specific entity. That every one and every thing is related to each other because we all came from that one specific entity. That we all evolved into what we are now out of necessity. Correct me if I am wrong please, because I know I definitely make mistakes. The reason I asked if your personal beliefs are that we descended from apes is because of the fact that human and monkey/ape/chimpanzee/gorilla are between 90-99% genetically identical. In my mind, it would make sense that if one believes in Darwinism, that they would believe we evolved from the original primate to become humans given that we are so closely identical genetically. It seems a contradiction to not believe this if you believe in evolution.
I understand and appreciate you taking time to research. I try to do the same thing whenever possible. I did think of another example of the moslem Subway owner in New Jersey recently who refused to allow a blind man into his store with a registered seeing eye dog. As for why I do not capitalize words such a moslem or islam, it is very simple. I believe islam to be a pagan religion. Grammar rules (at least when I learned them a few decades ago) state that pagan deities, religions, and associated words do not need to be capitalized. I do understand that grammar rules change as they are even considering disposing of the comma since young people today do not know how to use it correctly, but we all tend to stay with the rules we learned in the beginning. It is not done as a slight or an insult, but rather stems from my personal beliefs.
The term “pagan” is confusing, for it has many definitions, which is why I try to avoid using it. However, I would think ancient Greek mythology/religion would provide an example we can agree on, and therefore discuss. I’ve never seen a book, written in any decade, which failed to capitalize proper nouns, even if they are the names of “pagan” deities, such as Zeus or Athena. Similarly, Ragnarok, an event from ancient Norse religion/mythology, is always capitalized, and has been since before you or I were born. I submit to you that you may have been misinformed on this subject, and ask you to reconsider your stance on this one issue. Also, capitalization does not imply approval, nor agreement. I certainly do not believe in Zeus, nor Athena!
Regarding evolution, I keep stumbling over “believe in,” attached to this word, in your latest comment. I do not “believe in” evolution, which I do not capitalize, simply because it is not a proper noun. What I do is accept evolution, as scientifically valid, based on the evidence, which I have studied in detail. You seem to have asked a question regarding evolution, but I cannot clearly discern exactly what this question is. Would you please clarify this for me?
The term is confusing because, as with most words today, it has evolved in meaning over time. In this case, I use the word pagan in reference to a heathen, infidel, or offensive person rather than in reference to someone who worships the devil for example. Perhaps I should explain it as I do not capitalize the word moslem or islam because I use them in a common form, rather than a proper one. A proper noun/adjective/verb/pronoun is always capitalized but the common form is not. I do understand that capitalization does not imply approval or agreement. It is no different than when a moslem writes “god” when referring to the Christian God, or if I were to write “My name is Proud Infidel” verses “I am a proud infidel”.
The reason I asked about your beliefs in humans descending from apes is because of the fact that we are between 90-99% genetically identical. I do feel that evolution is a sound scientific theory, but find that many people who follow (?) or accept (?) Darwinism are deeply offended by saying human are descended from apes. My question was to clarify your personal point of view, just like your question to me about capitalization and pagan was. I am still confused on the accepting evolution, but not that we evolved from primates or them from us. How do human beings begin (?) in your personal belief system?
The problem with electronic communication is that it is so easily misinterpreted. Facial expressions, inflection, and even hand gestures are all an integral part in how we communicate. When you remove all of those and only words are left, the end result is that the reader places their own inflections into the words and things can quickly become twisted and misunderstood. I have often found that I can read something one day then reread it a week or two later and come away with a completely different meaning, so that is why I like to clarify whenever possible.
If you are asking exactly when primates first became, well, human, I don’t have an exact date to give you. The change was gradual. Also, I am not a biologist, and do not wish to present myself as one.
I have taught other sciences (physics and chemistry), as well as mathematics, but do not claim any special expertise in the life sciences. If you’ve visited other posts here, I’m sure you have seen, by now, that my interests lean much more strongly towards geometry, especially polyhedra, than any other academic field.
Thank you for your answers. I did not mean to derail the conversation so completely so will guide it back to the topic. How is your research into the progression of moslem and islam into communities going?
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I think you know I am a teacher. Grades were due this week, I’ve been very busy because of that, and so researching this topic hasn’t been a top priority, which is why such research hasn’t gone anywhere yet. This also explains why I haven’t made a new blog-post in several days, which is unusual for me.
The problem, when I do get around to researching your statements, will be finding objective sources of information about them. From research I have done in the past, I already know that there is a lot of misinformation out there, biased in different ways, and much less which is verifiable. As a skeptic on, well, pretty much everything, I maintain a high standard for the veracity of information sources — on any subject.
I do know this: I have read a lot written by Muslims, and not once have I encountered, in such writing, the use of a lower-case “g” being used when referring to the deity in which Christians believe. I have only encountered this lower-case-“g” thing in one book by Christopher Hitchens, who was certainly not a Muslim.
Most members of Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) with whom I have talked, or whose writings I have read, believe that all three groups actually worship the same deity, whom one could simply refer to as the (according to all three groups) “creator of the universe,” but, of course, they disagree regarding many of the characteristics of that deity. Jews and Muslims, for example, do not accept the specifically Christian concept of the Trinity. I have seen the word “pagan” defined, most often, simply as a person who is not a member of an Abrahamic religion. I have never seen it applied to Muslims.
I do wonder if some of the things you have written about Muslims are actually about members of the Nation of Islam. NOI members use words like “Muslim,” “mosque,” etc., so a lot of confusion happens, but the two groups are nothing alike. Do you attempt to distinguish between the two groups, when you do research, yourself?
If we are to continue this conversation, I would very much appreciate your changing your capitalization practices, at least on my blog. I have Muslim friends who read my blog, and refusing to capitalize such words as “Muslim” is insulting to these personal friends of mine. I don’t like it when friends of mine are insulted. I capitalize the names of every religion in the world, as well as the proper nouns which refer to each of those religions’ adherents, and so I don’t think I am asking too much with this request. I see it as no different than asking someone to capitalize my own first and last names.
To your friends who were offended, please tell them
مَنْ كَظَمَ غَيْظًا، وَهُوَ قَادِرٌ عَلَى أَنْ يُنْفِذَهُ، دَعَاهُ اللهُ سبحانه و تعالى عَلَى
رُؤُوْسِ الْخَلاَئِقِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، حَتَّى يُخَيِّرَهُ مِنَ الْحُوْرِ الْعِيْنِ مَا شَاءَ
I apologize for insulting anyone by not capitalizing a word. Life must be very difficult if one is insulted by a tiny letter as there are so many worse things in today’s world but if we were all the same it would be a very boring world. I happen to be VERY familiar with the NOI. As I stated earlier, I have spent time in Dearborn and Detroit so have had personal, firsthand experience. I tend to compare them to the New Black Panther Party. I did not realize that first quarter was ending already! It seems school started only yesterday! My apologies. I will check your blog again in a week or so then. As for unbiased sources of information, there are plenty but you do have dig. You must definitely get past the first page of the search engine and stay away from places like MSNBC and Fox News lol. While you are researching, add taqiyyah and muruna to your list. It is obvious that you have not been to London (or any of the UK) within the last few years or you would know what I meant about “before and after”.
If you are truly curious about learning, and are honest enough to look in depth at both sides, then I salute you. Most people simply refuse to research because they are afraid of learning something they did not want to know.
None of my friends told me they were offended. I was being proactive because I value my friends, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
Google-translate was not able to translate the Arabic above into anything I can understand.
I wish to terminate this conversation. I had thought it might be productive, but I no longer have that opinion.
The Arabic verse above is from the Quran and is absolutely nothing offensive at all. And of course you wish to terminate this conversation. That it exactly what I expected out of someone who wishes to appear knowledgeable about a subject but in reality is not. Perhaps in the future you will choose to avoid topics that you are not properly prepared to speak about.
If true, I would not have allowed your latest comment to appear. Comments require my approval to appear. The fact is that I am simply tired of this conversation, and see it will accomplish nothing.
JE SUIS CHARLIE. We must stand together against the evil that is islam. It is almost too late. #RIPCHARLIE12
Muslims are not a homogeneous group, any more than Christians or the non-religious. My advice: deal with people as individuals, not categories.