Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Letter to the Inauguration Committee

Assalamu Aleikum,


(Originally meant to be posted on 1/09/09 at 3:18 AM)


I wrote the following letter to the Inauguration Committee, upon finding out that I could not donate money:


We have ushered in a new era of leadership. The cynicism and pragmatism that prevailed in past presidential administrations, over those of idealism and hope, have come crashing down around our ankles. We have suffered the injustices of an oncoming oppression and tyranny of the masses that would seek to diverge from the very principles our nation was founded upon, in order to reign in a fear of the foreign and unknown. In ignorance, we thought isolationist tendencies would allow for us to prosper and develop as a unified nation, but it only fostered arrogance and blissful pride at the expense of the lives of young men and women.

Yet, in the midst of our decline, here came a man, not of my generation but of the generation preceding, who argued for the very principles considered naïve by those who would have us call them "wise". He spoke from the very foundations of the heart, reaching not only the emotional centers of citizens worldwide, but also appeasing the mental capabilities of our advanced species. He gave those who had lost hope in the political system, a new sense of wonder at the efficacy of his message, and the eloquence of his speech. We desired in our leaders a certain mien and character that would distinguish them from the despots who would seek to ascertain power, and such a package was delivered in President-elect Obama.

On that cold day of January 20th, in which the entire world will be gazing, I, whether there in person or in my dorm-room watching via the internet, will realize the fulfillment of the American Dream; a dream that has escaped the grasp of many eligible young men and women in these United States; a dream that has been the driving force behind this nation's shifting gears; a dream that has so deeply rooted itself into the very fabrics of our lives. When the appendage of "elect" is dropped from his title, when the West Wing is being decorated in the drapery of his choice, when the hands of thousands of onlookers begin to tremble with a thunderous applause, the dreams of millions (if not billions) of people worldwide will be recognized, and a new day and age will be ushered in, in which all basic human freedoms are recognized; where government rules based on the appreciation of "fact" rather than an adhered ideology of fear,  where voting is recognized more as a civic duty rather than a chore, where even the lowly college-student can make a difference in the way our country governs. That is the essence of the profound meaning of Inauguration Day 2009.


Sincerely,

M


May the peace and blessings of God be upon you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Watch the Inauguration Live

Assalamu Aleikum,

I present to you here on my blog, an embedded video of the Inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama, via Hulu.



May Peace and Blessings Be With You.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Assalamu Aleikum,

I wish to share with you all a little bit of my trouble and worry with the Islamo-phobic Christian apologists of the internet. Please read the following list of e-mails (*note: begin at the bottom, and work your way to the top.)

My final response:

You didn't answer a single question of mine. You responded with negativity rather than in kindness and compassion. You didn't give me any information but relied on insults and the threat of eternal damnation. 

To be honest, I'm disappointed in the manner in which you responded. I expected a little more out of a follower of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), as he did not teach his followers to act in the manner in which you just did.

Furthermore, reading your articles only strengthens my opinion of you (which has grown increasingly negative as I've read more). In your response to me, you have decided to deflect the questions and instead go on a rant about your misguided belief that Muhammad was a "false prophet". To be completely honest, I have no desire to rush your response as I feel it will highly resemble your articles in being flawed in logic, distasteful in approach, and lacking in sound content; which I belief does not deserve my time.

Thank you for giving me the peace and comfort to learn of your character, may Jesus Christ, himself, chastise you on the Day of Judgment for making a mockery out of his teachings.

-Mohamed Ali

P.S. In keeping with the tradition of your website, I'm making this e-mail public. Had you responded in a better manner, I would have kept it private.

On Jan 15, 2009, at 9:10 AM, sam shamoun wrote:
May the peace of the Lord Jesus be with you as he guides you out of your deception and abandon the false prophet Muhammad. What is astonishing is the ease with which you pervert and twist Jesus' words in John 16:25-29 in order to defend the indefnsible, namely your belief in a false prophet in spite of all the evidence which exposes him for what he is. If I have time I will refute your diatribe here, but please don't rush me to reply anytime soon since I have tons of articles which I am writing, many of which address similar distortions by your fellow Muslim colleagues and "apologists". In the meantime, I suggest you actually go back and read my articles in order to get the point of my arguments since this will prevent me from wasting time refuting bluster.


To: sam_shmn40@hotmail.com
From: vidaverdad@gmail.com
Subject: A Logical Fallacy in your Article's Conclusion
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 03:20:00 -0800

May God's Peace and Blessings Be Upon You,

I have read some of your articles on answering-islam.org. Though I find you to be a person of intelligence, it pains me to realize the point of deception that you so subtly make in your logical argument. I don't wish to delve to deeply as I'm currently already in a debate with another poorly-misguided Christian, however, I want to bring to your attention the logical fallacy you make in the conclusion of your article entitled "Jesus or Muhammad: Who is God's True Seal of Prophethood?"

You conclude the entire article with the following:

Jesus claims that everything that the Father owns belongs to him. This makes Jesus the Heir of all things. Yet the Quran claims that Allah is the Heir of all things:
"And certainly We! We it is Who give life, and cause death, and We are THE HEIRS." S. 15:23
"Lo! We, only We, inherit the earth and all who are thereon, and unto Us they are returned." S. 19:40
Taking these points to their natural conclusion would inevitably mean that Jesus is Allah, the God of Muhammad! Note the following syllogism:

  1. Muhammad is the Comforter
  2. The Comforter was to glorify Jesus
  3. All things belong to Christ
  4. Muhammad glorified Allah
  5. All things belong to Allah
  6. Therefore Jesus is Allah!
Which Muslim would agree to this? The fact that no Muslim would or could accept such reasoning only reinforces the absurdity of trying to make Muhammad the Comforter predicted by Christ.
I'm astonished by the manipulation of logic and reasoning that must be rendered for one to move from #2 to #3.  You argue from the point of syllogism — deductive reasoning based on a conclusion being drawn from a number of instances — that through a series of given premises, one can naturally conclude that because Muhammad is the Comforter, Jesus is Allah. *I'm skipping a whole bunch of steps which you can read about in the quoted text above, that don't affect my criticism below.

If you're arguing from the perspective of Muslims who claim that Muhammad is the comforter spoken of as periklytos or parakletos, then you must only focus on that claim, for they do not claim that the Bible is completely valid. Had the comforter said that "all things belong to Christ", that transition from #2 to #3 would have been far smoother. However, the Comforter says no such thing, thus you cannot include #3 because it has no relation to the Comforter or Muhammad in the argument. You begin #4 as the next series of premises which you will tie back to the first series, however, because #3 is a fallacy, #6 cannot exist. I hope this is a lot easier for you to understand, as it is so blatantly obvious to me as well as my Christian roommate, and we've both taken heavy-loaded logic courses in the past, as well as studied it for debate purposes.

I would strongly like your response to my statement.
Finally, in the same article, what you forget is that later in John 16, Jesus mentions that he had been speaking in figurative language all along. The ease with which you skip that is astonishing. Thus, there is the possibility that Jesus isn't talking about a Holy Ghost or a physicalized/spiritualized Spirit of Truth but about the power of God (the Father if you wish to call Him so), his breath, divine spirit, and Word. Thus, your statement that "when John 16:7 is read within its immediate and greater context the Comforter can only be referring to God's Holy Spirit" is also a false assumption. I've read John 17, as well as some earlier and later chapters, and nowhere does it refute Jesus' statement that what he spoke of in John 16 was figurative.
As a semi-frequent visitor to your site, I would like to ask if there is the possibility of having open debates between Muslims and Christians in the near future. I find it interesting that you place the debates that members of the site have with poorly misinformed Muslims over those with Muslims who are far more informed about Islam as well as Christianity. If you TRULY do believe in God Almighty, I would strongly urge you to put aside your blind trust in the Bible and read the Qur'an for its own sake. Just read a few chapters. Read the Chapters about Jesus and Mary if you so wish. I do not feel the desire to try to convert you, but I feel the desire to urge you to become more informed about Islam, before you start dissecting verses that you haven't read in context. When I say "context" I mean "full context", for instance: knowing if it's a Surah from the Medinan or Meccan period, knowing during what historical context of the growth of Islam it was delivered, etc. There's so much knowledge to be gained from going to the source of religious texts rather than arguing blindly back and forth. I hope you take that challenge.


May God guide you unto the Straight Path,
Mohamed Ali
P.S. You never actually answer the question your article's title poses. Your quotes never state that Jesus is the "seal of prophethood", but that he gets (as one quote states) God's "seal of approval" and the ability to send prophets and messengers. I would attribute the ability to send prophets and messengers as a by-product of the ascription of the divinity of Christ, because he, himself (Jesus Christ), never says that he can do so in the Bible (from what I've read). Feel free to try to prove me wrong, but remember that I'm harshly critical of arguments, so I would prefer if you used sound arguments and strong quotes, rather than one's open to interpretation.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Schools of Knowledge

Assalamu Aleikum,

I was in the car yesterday with a couple of friends, K and M, and we were brainstorming a project to get the youth in our community more active in giving back to the community and providing services. Don't get me wrong, we're not starting a sweatshop or anything like it, but expanding upon the foundations of a youth group already set in place.

As we were formulating, the idea came to us of our desire to create a School of Knowledge, much akin to the Universities of old where there existed a mentor-student relationship between those who had scholastic and religious knowledge, and experiences and those seeking to attain spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. Wouldn't that be ideal?! Imagine, at the heart of major cities worldwide, centers of study open to the public where vast open courtyards were filled with men and women, boys and girls scurrying around following a mentor, scribbling down every bit of information they could attain from him. Where men, women, and children could sit down in rooms laden with soft pillows, crimson curtains (with light shining through the opening), the fragrance of incense burning in the air, and discuss matters of life, death, scholastic work, and experience. Wouldn't that be ideal?

Think about it.

May peace be upon you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gaza.

Assalamu Aleikum,

Gaza.

Anyone see the Press Release from the Governor of California, regarding his position? I find it incredibly interesting how in one statement he states that Israel has the right to "defend itself against terrorism and cold-blooded attacks on its people" and then, in another sentence, states: "all sides have the choice and ability to reject violence and work toward that goal."

I understand that, as a politician, Arnold has to seem as if he supports both sides in order to win the support of his constituents and not be overthrown like one Grey Davis, but, is Israel's bombings of Gaza considered "self-defense"? I know that when someone comes at you with a gun and you decide to attack as well, that's self-defense. Yet, was it not Israel that decided to attack the Palestinian people half a century ago when it decided it was going to expand past the borders the U.N. had restricted it too. Is it not Israel that is acting like post-WWI France was with Germany; a relationship that brought Germans to the point of desperation that they allied themselves with Hitler?

By the way (as a side note), who ever heard of having the "right to live in the land of my forefathers?" How come that argument has never played in history, except in the creation of Israel? I can understand if your forefathers lived there 1, 2, or 3 generations ago; but when you decide you have the right to kick people out of their land because your ancestors (from millenia ago) once owned it, you're out of your mind! Why don't all the Latin Americans have a right to go back to Europe and Africa? Their ancestors were from there just centuries ago. Those who are of mixed heritage faced subjugation and slavery in the New World! The Jews, like African Americans in the U.S. in Post-Reconstruction (Pre-Civil Rights Movement), faced segregation and bigotry, but never at the hands of the current Palestinians. How come Israel isn't publicly (and internationally) called out for its hypocrisy!

I think its extremely disturbing, disgusting, and hypocritical that a country that was founded as a safe haven from persecution and genocide for Jews worldwide, has begun one of the most successful cases of mass-killings since the Holocaust. And by successful, I mean: that no international governmental body has decided to attempt to put an end to it forcefully. Be reminded that it wasn't just Jews in the Concentration Camps as well; there were Muslims, Europeans of Moorish and Arab descent, gays, blacks, and many other minorities who also suffered as a result of Nazi propaganda to "purge Germany". 

What senselessness! The reason why some Palestinians have gotten so desperate to the point of suicide bombing is due to the fact that they aren't allowed inside Israel, are kept at a distance, are being constantly bombed, raided by Israeli police, and being evacuated from their homes whenever the Israeli government sees fit to expand the settlement camps.

I'm done with hearing about how "well, the Jews faced the Inquisition, Nazi-era Germany, and persecution in anti-semitic America." Get over it! It happened and the blame falls upon those who were alive at the time and did nothing to stop it. Yet, remember how when the Jews faced the Inquisition in Spain, they left Spain for the Muslim world?!? They travelled back to Baghdad and Jerusalem to settle there in the midst of the Islamic Empire and its many offshoots for the centuries to come? Yet, now those living in Israel deem it fit to kill the Muslims because they had family members who were killed many years ago? How can we prosper and move on if we keep clinging to the offenses of the past? Where does it end?

Hopefully it ends when everything I said is no longer seen as "anti-semitic" and just "anti-Israel". I don't condone the violence from either side, but I place the fault upon Israel and all the nations worldwide that support its genocide of the Palestinian people. Our leaders worldwide are like little children in an after-school program, making the messes other people have to clean-up. When can we get a leader who no longer acts according to the needs of the lobbyists and "king-makers" but acts according to the needs of peace and stability world-wide? For if Obama can't accomplish it (with the whole world having backed him in the recent U.S. Presidential elections) perhaps we've failed. And if we've failed, when can we term the killing of innocent Palestinians, the walling-off of Gaza, the cut-off of supplies, water and electricity as the 'Second Holocaust'? When?

May Peace Be Upon You.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Assalamu Aleikum

May Peace Be Upon You,

I should have begun my first post with a little information on how my structure will work. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure right now. However, a guide to my first post goes as follows:

I am a Muslim, and as one, I greet every person who understands the phrase "May Peace Be Upon You", in arabic, with "Assalamu Aleikum." When translated into English, it sounds a little weird, but I would like you to know that this greeting is used by over 1.5 billion people worldwide. When two or more people are parting after a conversation, one person initiates with "Assalamu Aleikum" (May Peace Be Upon You) while the others reply with "Wa-Aleikum Assalam" (And May Peace Be Upon You). 

For the purpose of this blog, however, I'll try to use the english translation so as to not alienate anyone who wishes to fully understand my blog. I use the phrase, not only because it's the custom of my deen ("way of life", in arabic), but I truly believe it to be a kind gesture to others. Though I'll be using the english translation, as a matter of style, I may begin using the arabic transliteration in the future, once I find out which of my friends begin reading this.

May Peace Be With You.