Bid the Little Ones Come Unto Me - Forbid Them Not
The title paraphrases Jesus in the Book of Mark in the New Testament. His point was that the simple faith of a child shows the way to God's kingdom. This was not lost on the Church of Rome, which has long bragged that a child reared in the Church for the initial six years will be a life-long Catholic. Psychiatrists call it indoctrination. This article is about indoctrination - religious indoctrination - of children, but it has nothing to do with Christianity.
Most of us don't see a problem with a lifelong Catholic, or a Baptist, Methodist - pick one of hundreds of labels. Christianity in the modern world, no matter its specific label, fosters individuality, critical thinking, democracy, all those elements that most of us deem essential to our free society. What happens, however, when the indoctrinating religion teaches children hate, violence, bloodshed, terror, self-sacrifice to destroy unbelievers, total dependence on higher authority for any action beyond the simple act of living?
What to you get when the indoctrinating religion is Islam?
During the past three weeks I have been exchanging emails with a 15-year old Muslim youth in London. I will not reveal his name to protect his privacy and possibly his life. Our ongoing exchange has been frank and relatively evenhanded, given that my young Arab friend has relatively little knowledge of how Western governments work, does not really understand Christianity, and appears to be denied access to credible news sources.
Abdul (not his real name) initially responded to my DefenseWatch article, "Violence and Terror - Fundamental to All Islam," which appeared on March 20), with an impassioned statement about my "attack" on his beliefs. Here is his first email:
I am a 15-year-old boy from England and was shocked by the basic and clear propaganda being subjected against Islam. How was it even possible to say that the Palestinian woman had basically "killed" her children! You said that the Bible turns the other cheek to violence then why did Jesus say that if any one speaks against your parents then have them put to death! You failed to mention that Jihad means struggle for Allah, so even a simple task of getting up from your sleep when you've had a late night can count as Jihad. The best sort of Jihad said by the prophet was to speak against a tyrant leader and to get slain from it. So I am greatly annoyed to find such narrow-minded people such as yourself writing articles which infect the minds of others.
Abdul questioned my comments about the Palestinian woman who made a home video of her son shortly before he blew up himself and several Israeli teenagers. He questioned my contention that Christianity is essentially non-violent, and he took me to task for my views about Jihad.
In my response, I reiterated the facts surrounding the Miriam Farhat video, explained the context of Abdul's New Testament quote, and pointed out the true militant, violent nature of Jihad directly from revered Muslim sources, both old and new. I also brought up the explicit violence in the Ayatollah Khomeni's death sentence against British author Salmon Rushdi in the 1980s, and subsequent threats against me personally for publicly condemning the Ayatollah in a national ad.
In his response, Abdul sidestepped the Miriam Farhat video, and justified Palestinian suicide bombings as a response to Israeli terrorism. And he added that the struggle was about land, not terrorism. He wondered why the United States and Israel walked out of the Durban Conference on Racism, pointing out that this action demonstrates our racial attitudes. He commented that none of this mattered to me in any case, since my obvious interest as an editor and writer was strictly monetary.
Then Abdul told of Ariel Sharon massacring 17,000 Lebanese in 1982, and suggested that this was far worse than anything perpetrated by Saddam Hussein. He wondered why we were uninterested in sending arms inspectors into Israel to inspect their Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), instead of only into Iraq. He noted that we do not refer to IRA terrorists as Christian terrorists, and then launched into a discussion of how he views the teaching of religious history in the West, which, according to Abdul, glorifies the Crusades and vilifies Islam.
Abdul then talked about faith and religion, pointing out that a true religion will not change with time, countering my argument that Christianity had modernized its ways, turning from a violent past to become a religion of peace and goodwill; and so must Islam, if it is to survive. He believes Islam's strength lies in its rigid adherence to its roots.
Of course, I answered Abdul's various contentions and misstatements of fact. I pointed out the difference between a suicide bomber and a military response to repeated suicide bombings. I said that the name of a conference does not necessarily provide an accurate description of the conference, and noted that the Durban conference was a thinly veiled anti-Israeli platform. I explained that my DefenseWatch writing is for glory - not pay.
I took Abdul to task for his serious misstatement of fact regarding the Lebanese "massacre." I provided him with the latest estimates that "only" 2,800 people died or disappeared in 1982 in Lebanon at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, as a result of actions by Hobeika's Israeli-allied Christian militia. I pointed out that the Israelis had not threatened the world with WMDs, and I noted that the IRA terrorists and those they terrorize are both Christians, and that their terrorism is political, not religious.
I reiterated that Christianity had changed itself over the past few hundred years so that it now is a major guiding light for peace the world over. By contrast, Islam is spreading terror, violence, and death wherever it exists.
Abdul then dropped a bombshell. He is totally convinced that thousands of Americans have died in Afghanistan, and he cites a website created by the followers of Professor Abdullah Azzam (who was killed in late 1989), a wildly popular Muslim cleric who significantly influenced Osama bin Laden. The current URL of this website is: http://18.104.22.168/~azzam/. The site frequently changes its location to stay ahead of Western authorities. (If you need a current location, email me at the below email address.)
A review of the Azzam website will chill you to the bone. It advocates the killing of moderate Muslim clerics in America and Great Britain. It exhorts young Muslims to quit school and join the international Jihad. It calls for the death of President Bush and other Western leaders, the destruction of Western interests throughout the Islamic sphere of influence, and the total Islamization of Palestine, Bokhara, Lebanon, Chad, Eritrea, Somalia, the Philippines, Burma, Southern Yemen, Tashkent, and Andalusia (southern Spain).
I'll close with a chilling quote from the people who indoctrinated Abdul and hoards of his young Islamic friends:
We ask Allah to give victory to those fighting for His Sake in the four corners of the Earth, to destroy their enemies [America, Israel, and other Western nations] and the hypocrites [American and British Islamic leaders] and to enable the Muslim Ummah [community of Muslim believers] to produce millions of martyrs as the price for victory in this Life and achieving Allah's Pleasure in the Next.