Since I discovered Jihadwatch.org (and sister-site Dhimmiwatch) several months back, I have found it the most reliable collated source presenting Islamist current events and coextensive opinion on the subject of Islam and jihadist machinations, albeit one-sided. Of course I wouldn’t want it any other way from writer and Islamic scholar, Robert Spencer–a man more than proficient in Islamic law and theology, and the violent and imperialistic proclivities of Muhammad’s religion of
This may explain why I link to Jihadwatch more and more frequently. Too many other news outlets dull information on Islam today, particularly here in the west, with an overabundance of politically correct, honey-coated proselytizing and apologizing for a faith based around a basic concept of convert or die. I don’t need politically correct platitudes on this subject. Honest truth is more important to me, even if that means alienating a few friends and acquaintances along the way due to unpopular ideas–it’s not necessarily good holiday conversation.
Anyway, here’s an opinion by Mr. Spencer concerning a Washington Post article about the swearing in of Representative Keith Ellison. Or rather, the swearing in of Representative Keith Ellison with the Qur’an rather than the traditional use of The Bible. Further, Ellison will be swearing in on Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Qur’an.
There’s nothing constitutionally that claims one cannot be sworn into office with anything other than The Bible, nor do I believe should there be. To me this is sort of a non-issue that rings only slightly alarmist by traditionalists and southern-conservatives. Despite the fact that the United States is a country that tends to stand by tradition, there have been several public office holders throughout the history of this country who have taken the oath of office on The Bible in spite of their beliefs as non-Christians. Counter to that, several non-Christians and Christians alike have opted to swear on nothing at all for their oath of office.
Still, Spencer makes a succinct and reasoned (as always) point on the tradition of using The Bible versus the tradition (or lack of tradition) of the Qur’an. And as usual, Spencer encourages much needed open discussion on what Islam teaches and how it fits into our society minus the ad hominem cries of “racist” or “bigot” that CAIR and its ilk often ignorantly belch forth.
In the Washington Post (thanks to Davida), Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts report breathlessly that Keith Ellison will be using Thomas Jefferson’s own copy of the Qur’an for his swearing-in photo op.
This is allegedly a political masterstroke by Ellison, but it really just begs the question. Thomas Jefferson, obviously, was not a Muslim. In his famous statement on religious freedom he wrote about whether one’s neighbor believed in one god or twelve “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But what no one is willing to discuss here is whether the Qur’an and Islam really fit into that framework. When I have mentioned that it sanctions lying to unbelievers (3:28 and 16:106, in the mainstream understanding of those verses by Islamic theologians and schools of jurisprudence; cf. Ibn Kathir and many others), people have responded that the Bible is full of nasty stuff as well. But people aren’t swearing on the Bible because it is full of nasty stuff, or endorsing any of it that might actually be there. The idea of swearing on the Bible arises from Christian belief and is buttressed by Christian theology — Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant — that requires honesty and eschews all dishonesty as coming from the “Father of Lies.” The permissions to be dishonest in the Qur’an are not mitigated by Islamic belief, tradition, and theology, but are in fact reinforced — by Muhammad’s statements that “war is deceit” and that lying is permissible in wartime, and more.
In short, to swear on the Bible is to affirm, among other things, that one is part of a tradition, and to swear on the Qur’an does not amount to an affirmation of the same tradition, no matter how much Glenn Beck or Ed Koch or anyone wishes it does or assumes it does. Islamic teachers daily use the Qur’an to establish principles that differ radically from those of Judeo-Christian tradition. These questions need to be discussed in a forthright and honest manner by Ellison and by the mainstream media, instead of being swept under the rug or condemned as bigotry.
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, January 3, 2007; C03
Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he’d take his oath of office on the Koran — especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.
Yet the holy book at tomorrow’s ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We’ve learned that the new congressman — in a savvy bit of political symbolism — will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.
“He wanted to use a Koran that was special,” said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, who was contacted by the Minnesota Dem early in December. Dimunation, who grew up in Ellison’s 5th District, was happy to help.
Jefferson’s copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson’s collection and has his customary initialing on the pages. This isn’t the first historic book used for swearing-in ceremonies — the Library has allowed VIPs to use rare Bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.
Ellison will take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers’ belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself,” said Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert.
One person unlikely to be swayed by the book’s illustrious history is Goode, who released a letter two weeks ago objecting to Ellison’s use of the Koran. “I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible,” the Virginia Republican told Fox News, and then went on to warn about what he regards as the dangers of Muslims immigrating to the United States and Muslims gaining elective office.
Yeah, but what about a Koran that belonged to one of the greatest Virginians in history? Goode, who represents Jefferson’s birthplace of Albemarle County, had no comment yesterday.