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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dhimmitude


By Faith J. H. McDonnell

This weekend, as America celebrates its 233rd birthday, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an unindicted co-conspirator in the U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation prosecution, is celebrating "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Yes, the inalienable rights our Declaration of Independence calls "self-evident" are the theme of the Muslim Brotherhood-associated organization's 46th annual convention, in Washington, DC, July 3-6, 2009.

Certainly, understanding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as Islamic values requires creativity. No problem there. Most non-Muslims, including influential and well-respected church leaders, seem to be in an ongoing state of suspension of disbelief, as well as suspension of belief, concerning Islam. This weekend ISNA's convention will give some Christian leaders the opportunity to display the same sort of appeasement and dhimmitude that frequently accompanies Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Hundreds of invited speakers will unpack the convention theme. One "sought after" speaker is the Artist Formerly Known as Cat Stevens. After his conversion to Islam, Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, joined the Ayatollah Khomeini in making author Salman Rushdie feel somewhat "sought after." Allegedly defaming Islam obviously disqualified Rushdie to the right to life, so there go liberty and happiness. Islam (the man of peace, not the religion of peace) later qualified his call for Rushdie's death, assuring the world that he did not want vigilante justice. He wanted a proper Islamic court trial, ending, as Islamic trials so frequently do, in execution.

Another honored guest of the convention is Senegal's President, Abdoulaye Wade. Wade is the chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), that great bastion of human rights. The OIC is most recently known for promoting the "Defamation of Religions" resolution in the UN Commission on Human Rights. The resolution's goal is to outlaw all criticism of Islam. Wade recently condemned the indictment of Sudan President Omar el Bashir for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. Wade, ever concerned about the life, liberty, and happiness of the Darfurians, assures the ICC that there is no genocide in Sudan.

A speaker in the convention's main session is American Muslim scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. Yusuf has not exactly been known for wishing America life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Among his anti-American and anti-Semitic statements, in an April 2003 FrontPage Magazine article, anonymous UCLA students reported Yusuf's remarks at a September 9, 2001 benefit dinner for convicted cop-killer Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown). Because America had been "ungrateful for the bounties of Allah" it was "facing a very terrible fate," said Yusuf. He warned that America had "a great tribulation coming to it," and scoffed that people were "too illiterate to read the writing on the wall." After September 11, Yusuf himself just may have proved the U.S. government's inability to read the writing on the wall. After moderating his own inflammatory rhetoric, he met with and became an "advisor" on Islam to President George W. Bush.

Joining Yusuf and ISNA president Dr. Ingrid Mattson to speak at the convention's keynote is Rick Warren, the best-selling author who is founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in California. Warren and Mattson were both participants in Barack Obama's inauguration. And ISNA's National Director for Interfaith and Community Outreach (Our Man in the Dar al-Harb), Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, spoke last December at Saddleback Church's Civil Forum on Public Health.

Several mainline church leaders such as Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Mark Hanson, and former member of Congress and general secretary of the National Council of Churches, Bob Edgar, will also speak at the convention. But by far the biggest gaggle of Christian dhimmis will be at the convention's "Interfaith Unity Reception." The gathering's theme, A Common Word Between Us and You, refers to the warm and fuzzy letter sent by 138 Muslim clerics and scholars from around the world to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders in October 2007 inviting Christians to peace with Islam. Hundreds of Christian leaders (not including Benedict XVI) rushed to prostrate themselves before their Muslim pen pals with an obsequious reply. Their reply, Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You sets the standard, the double standard, that will most probably be adhered to by Christians at ISNA's interfaith unity reception.

Loving God and Neighbor Together was the product of Yale Divinity School theologians Miroslav Volf (who will participate in the convention), Joseph Cumming, Harold Attridge, and Emilie Townes. But these scholars approached Islam either with the uncritical eyes of those more familiar with the theoretical realm and not the reality of life under Shari'a, or else their passion for Christian-Muslim reconciliation overwhelmed any need for truth. The mistaken approach to Christian-Muslim dialogue in Loving God and Neighbor Together should not be repeated by Christians participating in ISNA's gathering.

Loving God and Neighbor Together packs a double dose of the dhimmitude so often present in Christian-Muslim dialogue. It demonstrates both naiveté about Islam's agenda and a disturbing willingness to compromise Christian doctrine. According to Islam expert the Rev. Dr. Mark Durie, Loving God and Neighbor Together was naïve because Christians entered "an Islamicized dialogue" set forth by A Common Word in which the tenets of Islam are the premise for all conversation. For instance, to Christians, "the love of God" is the unconditional love that God has for the human race. But "the love of God" in A Common Word, as in Islam itself, refers to God's favor on those who submit to him.

The Christians compromise Christian doctrine, says the Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund. He notes the Yale letter refers to "the Prophet Muhammad," an appellation sure to be uttered in reverent tones by Christians at the ISNA conference. Do they "really accept Muhammad as a true prophet of God?" Sookhdeo inquires. "If so . . . they should be Muslims. . . It would be wrong to give Muslims the impression that Christians accept his status as a true prophet of God," Sookhdeo advises.

In their eagerness to find common ground with the Muslims the Christians marginalize themselves. Sookhdeo says that "the tone of the Muslim letter is condescending, given from a position of superiority and strength," while the Yale response is "one of abject humility, guilt, and subjugation." He says that this "self-humbling, grateful tone" fits the "classical Islamic understanding of the role of Christians as dhimmis in the Islamic state."

In the preamble, the Yale responders confess the need to remove an enormous log in their own eyes before dealing with the speck in their neighbor Muslims' eyes (a reference to Matthew 7: 5). They ask for forgiveness from God, referring to Him by the Muslim-wannabe name "the All-Merciful One," and from the Muslim community around the world "because in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the "war on terror") many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors," the Yale letter confesses.

Unfortunately, Loving God and Neighbor Together is so preoccupied with groveling that it never gets around to commenting on the little "specks" of offense that followers of Islam commit against their Christian neighbors. Such specks as slavery, wide-scale persecution, slaughter of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and others in the Islamic world, and flying airplanes into buildings come to mind.

One of the most appalling aspects of Loving God and Neighbor Together is its failure to be a voice on behalf of Christians, Jews, and others (A Common Word barely mentioned any other religions since they are not "People of the Book"). The late Rev. Richard John Neuhaus once said of similar appeasement practices by the churches during the Cold War years, "We start telling lies about countries where people are being imprisoned and tortured and slaughtered . . . we paint a rosy picture of this, and pretend it isn't happening." He continued, "Our religious dignitaries consort with the persecutors. . . This discredits the Church as social witness; it undermines any elementary notion of justice."

Perhaps the best advice for the Christians participating in the ISNA convention this weekend comes from Rick Warren himself. He recently said that as a Christian who believes that all people have been created in the image of their Creator, he must accept them, but not approve of everything that they do. Gestures by Christians such as Loving God and Neighbor Together smack strongly of approval and leave no room to speak the truth in love to Muslims. At the same time they betray those who have been victimized by Islam. This weekend as ISNA convention goers celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, let's hope that one of the Christians who attends the convention urges them to recognize those same inalienable rights belong to non-Muslims as well.




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Tamuz = July

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dhimmitude
July 03, 2009

Secretary of Sate Hilary Clinton's Town Hall Meeting With PRT Leaders and Iraqi Partners
July 02, 2009

Khzirun = June

Britain's Indifference to the Plight of Iraqi Christians emphasised in the House of Commons June 27, 2009

USCIRF Expresses Concern Over Reported Attacks on Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt June 27, 2009

In Nineveh, tensions between Iraqi Kurds and Arabs simmer June 25, 2009

Dominican sister vows to remain in Iraq despite increasing violence June 24, 2009

Parliament of the Kurdistan region to ratifies the territory constitution June 24, 2009

Turkish Court Rules Against Assyrian Monastery
June 24, 2009

Iraq Kurds pass new constitution to include Kirkuk June 24, 2009

Fear of Massacre Grips Christian Village in Egypt; Crops Destroyed June 24, 2009

Muslim Mob Attacks Church and Loots Christian Homes in Egypt June 20, 2009

Christian Coptic Twin Boys Struggle Against Forced Islamization June 20, 2009

Organization Helps Injured, Ill Iraqis
June 20, 2009

A member of Drafting Kurdistan Constitution Describes Our Clergies interference in Politics as a "major crime" June 20, 2009

Assyrian Refugees in Sweden Caught in Political Struggle June 19, 2009

Autonomy and the Assyrians of Iraq
June 16, 2009

Motion in the UK Parliament for the return of our Churches June 16, 2009

Assyriska versus Syrianska; World's Most Competitive Football Contest June 10, 2009

Assyrian Medical Society Without Borders, Without Passports June 10, 2009

Sweden's New Asylum Policy
June 10, 2009

Rosie Malek-Younan Awarded Assyrian Woman of the Year June 10, 2009


The war on Christianity in the Middle East
June 4, 2009


Iraqi Christians in need
June 2, 2009

Ayar = May

Allotting of Iraqi Oil Rights May Stoke Hostility
May 29, 2009

Amo Baba State Funeral of the Iraqi Assyrian sport's Legend AAmmo Babba May 28, 2009

Sharia Law and Women’s Rights in Iraq
May 27, 2009

EU Parliament Candidate Supports Assyrians in Iraq May 27, 2009

Iraqi Refugees Struggling in the United States
May 26, 2009

“The Morganthau Story” about Turkey's genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks to be screened in US
May 21, 2009

The Challenge of the Armenian Genocide for the 21st Century May 21, 2009

Wave of Iraq bombings in Dora and Kirkuk kills 66- May 21, 2009

An Open letter by a Turk about World War I Massacre of the Assyrians in Turkey
May 20, 2009

Christians Unwelcome Here May 20, 2009

Plea: Save Egypt's Christian Children From Forced Islamization May 16, 2009

A new book; Ancient and Modern Assyrians
May 15, 2009

Documentary on persecution of Christians in Iraq to be shown in Westlake Village May 14, 2009

The Kurdistan Parliament Rejects Assigned Representation by non Kurds May 14, 2009

Egyptian Christian Kidnapped, Pressured to Convert to Islam May 13, 2009

Five-Year-Old Christian Iraqi boy Kidnapped then killed May 11, 2009

The Continuing Legal Battle of the Syriac-Orthodox Monastery in Turkey May 11, 2009

Tony blair has helped destroy one of the oldest churches on earth May 11, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI issues plea for Middle East Christians May 11, 2009

The Art of Issa Benyamin May 11, 2009

UN alters its Iraq refugee guidelines
May 11, 2009

Don’t flee Kirkuk, Iraqi Christians are urged
May 8, 2009

The state of Assyrian Refugees in Syria
May 7, 2009

Iraqi Christians Too Scared to Reveal Whole Truth on Violence May 7, 2009

Historical Acknowledgement of the Assyrian genocide by a Turk May 6, 2009

The Purple Heart May 6, 2009

Neesan = April

Egyptian State Security Forces Demolish Church Services Building April 30, 2009

Chaldean Curch Elects National Council to Distinguish its followers as a separate Ethnic People April 28, 2009

Assyrian historian and researcher Dr. Hermis Aboona passes away April 27, 2009

Fighting for Peace in the Middle East
April 28, 2009

Turkish PM Steps Into Assyrian Monastery Dispute
April 27, 2009

Two Assyrians gunned down in Iraq
April 27, 2009

Turkey Should Improve Education for minorities; says report April 26, 2009

Modesto Assyrian in recovery from Iraq injury
April 25, 2009

Iraqi municipality workers come across “priceless artifacts”
in Tikrit
April 23, 2009

Kurdish Security forces above the law in Iraqi Kurdistan
April 21, 2009

Orthodox mark 'Holy Fire' of Easter in Jerusalem
April 17, 2009

Turkey's Ambassador to Australia trying to prevent recognition of Armenian Genocide April 17, 2009

Assyrian Language Street Signs to Be Placed in North Iraq
April 15, 2009

Iraqi Vice President Urges Christians To Stay, Seeks Help For Them April 15, 2009

Iraq's Minorities Issue Joint Statement on Kurdish Expansion Plans April 15, 2009

Endangered Aramaic language makes a comeback in Syria
April 14, 2009

More Secure Christians Celebrate Easter in Iraq
April 14, 2009

Iraq's embattled Christians celebrate Easter
April 11, 2009

Chicago museum opens magical doors April 11, 2009

Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: Intercommunal Relations on the Periphery of the Ottoman Empire April 9, 2009

Will Islam Return Obama's 'Respect'?
April 9, 2009

The Lost History of Christianity The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died ? April 8, 2009

Assyrian Celebration of the Palm Sunday in Baghdad
April 6, 2009

Improving Security Allows Assyrians to Celebrate Religious Feast April 6, 2009

Video of Dan- Rather's interview with an Assyrian,
a Suni, a Sheite, and a Kurd
April 6, 2009

The assassination of a Christian citizen in the city of Mosul
April 5, 2009

Video of Celebration of the Assyrian New Year in Sydney Australia April 3, 2009

Muslim Mob Drags Christian Women Through Streets
April 3, 2009

New Wave of Violence Targets Christians in Iraq
April 3, 2009

Iran Arrests Two Christian Women for Practicing Christianity April 2, 2009

Assyrian New Year parade and celebration in northern Iraq
April 1, 2009

Assyrian Church in Iran is ordered to be closed by the Islamic Revolutionary Court April 1, 2009

Iraqi Christians have ‘great hope’ in ‘tragic’ situation, Kirkuk archbishop says April 1, 2009

Addar = March

U.S. State Department overlooks ‘especially dire’ religious freedom violations in Iraq March 31, 2009

CEO and eventual majority owner of the San Diego Padres, the great grandson of Assyrian immigrants March 31, 2009

Assyrian New Year's Celebration to Proceed in North Iraq
March 31, 2009

Assyrian Elected to Top Position in Local Swedish Party
March 31, 2009

Tell Congress to support Obama's promise to Iraq's Refugees
March 31, 2009

Iraq: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Christians
March 28, 2009

Congressman Wolf Sends Letter to Clinton Regarding Assyrians of Iraq March 27, 2009

Letter to President Obama
Finally, a promise to Iraqi refugees. March 27, 2009

Youtube Assyrian Videos 2

Youtube Assyrian Videos (youtube2-b)
March 25, 2009

The Last Assyrians in Urmia
March 25, 2009

Al Jazeera - Tensions over Ancient Assyrian monastery surface in Turkey March 23, 2009

Assyrian Valley school gives young emigres stability and hope
March 23, 2009

Woodbridge Canada is hotspot of Assyrian culture
March 21, 2009

Leaving Iraq: An Iraqi Christian; blog by an Assyrian Catholic March 20, 2009

Museum Aims to Piece Together Iraq's Plundered Past
March 20, 2009

Iraqi Christians Caught in Crossfire
March 17, 2009

New Book Accuses Iraqi Kurds of Assassinating Assyrian Leader March 17, 2009

Mr. Ninos Khoshaba the first Assyrian elected to the New South Wales Parliament. March 16, 2009

Iraq War not Worth the Sacrifice
March 15, 2009

The Myth of Kurdistan
March 15, 2009

Plight of Christians Assyrians in Iraq described to Madison church March 15, 2009

International Research Network on Christians in the Middle East Launched March 15, 2009

The Iranians are Coming!
March 11, 2009

Aishu Auraay: A Missing Seven-Year-Old Assyrian Boy
March 11, 2009

US Lawmakers Send Letter on Plight of Iraq's Assyrians to The US secretary of State; Clinton March 11, 2009

Celebration of the Assyrian New Year March 11, 2009

A New Assyrian Web site March 11, 2009

Iraq's 2009 Elections: Assyrians once again prevented from voting March 10, 2009

Egyptian Muslim Sets Fire to Christian Man, Murders His Father March 8, 2009

Battle Over a Christian Monastery Tests Turkey's Tolerance of Minorities March 7, 2009

Marathon in Holland to Draw Attention to Assyrian Monastery in Turkey March 6, 2009

Bishops: Middle East May Soon Be Empty of Christians
March 5, 2009

Urban Sprawl, Not Looting, Threatens Nineveh Antiquities March 4, 2009





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