Father Dave and Sheikh Mansour

I receive emails just about every day telling me how all Muslims are out to kill us!

It’s hard to know where to start in responding to these emails. Should I really try to respond line by line or should I simply point out that nobody speaks for ‘all Muslims’ any more than anybody speaks for all of ‘us’ (whoever ‘we’ are supposed to be). The simple solution is just to hit ‘delete’ of course, but I find it almost impossible to do that. Such emails are slurs against my sisters and brothers in humanity. How can I just ignore them?

At the same time though I’m realising that it doesn’t do much good to offer a logical argument in response, as these emails generally operate on a logic all of their own. Take the latest email I received:

A friend commends to me the testimoney of an army veteran – Lt. Colonel Allen West – who (according to this chain letter) is one of those rare individuals who has had the courage to stand up and tell the truth. West has served in Iraq and he knows the truth about Islam – that killing all non-Muslims is entirely the aim of the religion, and he’s happy to go on the record saying so.

You can see West’s 2-minute speech here if you’re motivated, and you can even find a campaign blog here if you want to write a letter of support to West, commending him for his courage in speaking out. But what is not addressed in the speech and what is not called into question by any of his supporters is why we should listen to this guy?

What makes this guy an expert on Islam such that we should take his word above the word of any number of highly qualified people – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – who claim that Islam does not tell its adherants to kill anybody?

Is it because he’s a veteran that he should be believed? I’m sure we could find any number of other veterans who would disagree with him. Indeed, his supporters themselves say that when West made his statement none of his veteran colleagues were saying anything of the sort. This is interpreted as cowardice on their part, of course, but it’s far more likely that they simply disagreed with him.

Is it his service in Iraq that makes him such an authority? Of course it doesn’t say how long he served in Iraq but his Yankee accent reminds us that it can only have been a small percentage of his life at best, and clearly he went there to fight the the Muslim enemy and not to do an objective study of Iraqi history. Certainly we would not normally consider such a man a credible authority on a religion he has never been a part of. So why is everyone so keen to listen to him now?

The answer is very simple. The reason Lt. Colonel Allen West is considered an authority on Islam is this: he’s the only guy saying what we want to hear!

Countless numbers of better qualified people will disagree with him. Any number of academics and scholars and theologians who have devoted their whole lives to the study of Islam stand ready to contradict him. All this means nothing! West is the guy we want to listen to. Why? Because he tells us what we wanted to hear – that all Muslims are violent bastards whose sole aim is the destruction of the Western world.

Mind you, the part of the Quran that West quotes to prove his statement – “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” – even if divorced from its historical context, can’t possibly be applied to Christians (or Jews), as such persons are not considered to be ‘idolaters’ in Islam but as mistaken monotheists. Anyone with a minimal knowledge of Islam would know this, but somehow that’s happily overlooked here.

Anyway, I’m sure there must be homicidal Muslim persons doing the same sort of thing somewhere, and fanning the flames from the other side – emailing all the people they know and quoting Psalm 137:9 – “Happy is he who takes their children and dashes them against the rocks” – and claiming that this is a Biblical command to all Christians and Jews to kill all Muslim children. And I’m sure there are any number of Muslim people who are just as glad to hear anti-Chrsitian rhetoric as we are to hear anti-Muslim rubbish. However you figure it, this is not the way to peace!

Hmmm … as I was about to post this I received another email from another friend, this time passing on to me the testimony of a Qantas Airlines pilot, Captain John Maniscalco, who likewise offers his words of wisdom, warning us about the dangers of Islam and the worldwide Muslim agenda.

I seem to remember that last time I heard from Captain Maniscalco he was supposed to be flying for American Airlines. Otherwise the message was the same. A little investigation of course shows that this email has been circulating for the best part of 10 years, that the author has taken on various identities, and that it is doubtful whether anyone by the name of Captain Maniscalco really has anything to do with its authorship.

And yet the email concludes with the all-caps exhortation: LET’S SATURATE THE FREE WORLD WITH THIS ONE!

That statement is depressing on so many levels!