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Can Muslims be Good Americans?

My grandfather is a good person. I’ve never seen him do harm to another soul, look down on anyone else, or do anything negative in his entire life. I like my grandfather a great deal, and it’s hard to reconcile the funny, easygoing man I’ve known all my life with the same person who forwards this type of shit to me by email. It fosters hatred and ignorance and is fearmongering bullshit. I wish I could understand why he thinks this is okay, or why he thinks that this is smart, or good, or even a Christian thing to do. I’ve pasted his latest forward below, with my comments in bold*. I’ve gone ahead and fixed the numerous grammatical issues out of courtesy:


(This is certainly ‘food-for-thought’.. What do you think?)

This is very interesting and we all need to read it from start to finish. And send it on to everyone. Maybe this is why our American Muslims are so quiet and not speaking out about any atrocities.

Can a good Muslim be a good American?

This question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.

Oh, well, since he worked there for 20 years, he’s obviously an expert. Or just an idiot with a construction job.

The following is his reply:

Theologically – no.. . .
Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon god of Arabia.

Muslims worship the same God as Jews and Christians. And doesn’t the second commandment prohibit no other god? That sounds like allegiance to me.

Religiously – no. . .
Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah Except Islam (Qur’an, 2:256)(Koran)

The line quoted translates to say, explicitly: “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” That sounds like the complete opposite. And, once again, the second commandment of the Bible seems to imply that Christians also can’t religiously be good Americans.

Scripturally – no. . .
Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.

Not all Muslims follow the five pillars. In addition, they only say, in an extremely summarized translation, “1. No God except for God with Muhammed as his messenger, 2. Pray to God 5 times a day if you can, 3. Give alms to the poor, 4. Fast from dawn to dusk for a month, 5. Make one pilgrimage to visit Mecca.“. Maybe I’m just really dense, but I can’t see how this could be a barrier to being American in any way.

Geographically – no…
Because his allegiance is to Mecca , to which he turns in prayer five times a day.

Is this like a Catholic’s allegiance to the Pope and the Vatican? Or a Jew’s allegiance to Israel? In other words, bullshit.

Socially – no. . .
Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.

No, the Qur’an says that Muslims should avoid being friends with treacherous unbelievers. The fact that someone isn’t Muslim does not make them de facto treacherous.

Politically – no. . .
Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America , The great Satan.

This is just fear-mongering at its finest. The Qur’an doesn’t require anyone to submit to a mullah, which is in many ways the same thing as a rabbi.

Domestically – no…
Because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34)

Let me just throw a few Bible verses your way:

“Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says.” (1 Corinthians 14:34)

“If any man takes a wife, and goes in on her, and detests her, and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and says, ‘I took this woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin…” (Deuteronomy 22:13,14)

“But if … evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones…” (Deuteronomy 22:20,21)

“Slaves are to be submissive to their masters in everything, and to be well-pleasing, not talking back .” (Titus 2:9)

I think this makes my point. If we were to take every Bible verse literally, how many women would have been stoned to death shortly after they were married?

Intellectually – no…
Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.

Hm. Muslims believe the Bible to be flawed. But since the Constitution makes absolutely no mention of God or the Bible anywhere, it’s a moot point.

Philosophically – no…
Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran does not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.

See above (Qur’an 2:256) – saying there can be no compulsion in religion sounds awfully similar to freedom of religion and thought. The latter statement about every Muslim government being either dictatorial or autocratic is just factually incorrect. Turkey is an example of a Muslim democracy. Many Muslim-dominated countries are also democratic.

Spiritually – no….
Because when we declare ‘one nation under God,’ the Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran’s 99 excellent names.

Another completely incorrect statement. While the Qur’an may not refer to God as the “heavenly father” (And why the fuck does that matter at all?), words like “forgiving”, “kind”, “loving” “merciful” are attributed to Allah throughout the Qur’an.

Therefore, after much study and deliberation…. Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. – – – They obviously cannot be both ‘good’ Muslims and good Americans. Call it what you wish, it’s still the truth. You had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.

Maybe we should be suspicious of ALL CHRISTIANS! I mean, if they’re going to show allegiance to God and a Bible and stone women who aren’t virgins and keep slaves and tithe and require baptism, surely that’s completely anti-American, isn’t it? I mean, you obviously can’t be a good Christian and a good American!

The religious war is bigger than we know or understand. ….

No, the concept of religious freedom is obviously too confusing for you to understand.

Footnote: The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within.

So maybe they’re the ones who are sending out these propagandizing emails. It’s all part of their strategy to create this foundation of fear and hatred and distrust so that we destroy each other.

Debunking this took about 15 minutes of time and a spoonful of common sense. And it frustrates me to no end to think that my grandfather thinks that this is reality. That he should be suspicious of someone because they’re different. And I wish I could show him how ignorant and wrong that really is.

Papa, if you’re reading this, I love you and I’m sorry, but UNSUBSCRIBE.

*It’s okay for me to comment on this. One of my best friends is a Muslim. At least I hope it’s okay, or else she might declare jihad on me.

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50 Replies to “Can Muslims be Good Americans?”

  1. CP

    Oy vey, we get emails like this all the time from my husbands grandmother in Israel, how Barack Obama is the second coming of the Muslim Allah and he is here to destroy us. My husband usually takes a more passive approach and just deletes. I tend to do what you do and debunk the craziness. But, it’s harder to explain these things to the elderly, even if they are on the ball. They were raised in a different era than we were and not as likely to trust the whole Kumbaya/Love One Another thing. You did an excellent job of maintaining your cool and your respect toward your grandfather. I would have told my grandmother that I was sending 100 Muslims to rape and pilfer her if she sent me one more email like this. That would teach her old ass.

  2. Hilly

    I’m impressed that you read it! Every time I get an email from my Dad that has even the slightest inkling of being something like this, I roll my eyes and delete it. It’s usually pretty easy to spot cause the subject line looks like this: FW:FW:FW:FW:FW: Blah

  3. avatgardener

    fat-headed fear-mongers foment falsehoods.

    oh hell, I can’t do this.

    The American Muslims are quiet for a variety of reasons. First off, they are embarrassed to be lumped in with the nut-cases who are out trying to kill everyone. Also, they are now AMERICANs and not interested in betraying that trust – – after all American families helped them emigrate and get assimilated and become citizens. And thirdly, perhaps they were brought up like so many of us with this adage: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
    While I agree that most terrorists are Muslim, not all Muslims are terrorists. And not all of them come from Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan. Large population of Serb, Croat, Bosnian Muslims in my town. Hard working. Great dressing. Outstanding food!! And always a hug and a smile when I meet the 6 I know on the street.

    And the passages from the Bible, scary stuff – – stone non virgins, slaves, etc. So much for a loving and forgiving God.

    I would like to be a fly on the wall next Avitable family gathering!!!

  4. Faiqa

    Interestingly, nobody has ever forwarded me this e-mail. Heh.

    I appreciate that there are people like you in this country, Adam You guys make our job of destroying you from within so much easier.

  5. beth

    Too many people dismiss this type of behavior because our grandparents are from a different “era” – mine hate muslims, blacks, democrats, gays and northerners. It’s just STUPID.

    The underlying problem is that many people are afraid of anything that is different from their own way of life, this just shows their ignorance and the inability to have an open mind. It is the epitomy of selfishness.

    It’s so hard when someone you respect so much, someone you feel would not hurt a fly -they can, and they do, right in your inbox!

  6. Cissa Fireheart

    Adam, this was probably one of the awesomest things you have ever written. Seriously LOVED this for so many reasons. Hope you don’t mind, but I am gonna link this post to my post today because I have a few hate mongers in my family who could use some friggin’ common sense!!

  7. Grant

    I think it would have been more interesting if you had left the bad grammar intact. I, for one, always follow the advice of people who tell me “Muslims is to be the bad are destroy us from within – you hate them happy.”

    I got off those redneck mailing lists by responding with a little debunking. I’ve learned that people who want to talk about religion are the last ones who want to hear a differing opinion on the same subject. Since he’s your grandfather, I understand that maybe that’s not an option, especially if you’re in his will.

  8. Clown

    Maybe this is bad, but I’ll be honest, I barely made it halfway through this post. After the first “no” I didn’t care what the writer had to say so I cared even less about your responses.

    I like that you took the time to look up info, but since your responses were not going to the original author, I felt like it was not directed anywhere. I doubt any of the readers are going to argue with you on this.

    Basically, if you edited your text so it was just info, and not responses to some faceless fool, I would come back and read it. Does that make sense?

  9. Sybil Law

    I get emails like this ALL THE DAMN TIME from my husband’s aunt. I usually just respond with things like, “I heart Satan!”, or, “I want to gang bang all the Muslims of the world!” – and she STILL sends me this shit.
    It really, really pisses me off.

  10. Chris

    Geez Adam – well done. You had much more patience and tact than I would have in the situation. Generally I hit reply to all and debunk line by line ending with you’re all a bunch of fucking morons now fuck off and die. No wonder my xmas card list is so short.

  11. furiousball

    My ex-wife’s grandfather once told me with a completely straight face that if I tell a Muslim that I will never be a Muslim myself, he will kill me. No shit.

    The next day I told my Egyptian co-worker that I’ll never be a Muslim. I think he ripped a fart in my cube, but that’s about it.

  12. Sheila (Charm School Reject)

    I don’t know enough about the Muslim religion, the Qu’ran, etc to have any actual commentary regarding that. However, I do know, of course, that this email is pretty much a bunch of crap. I really don’t even understand what te point of the email was but maybe I’m just dim witted.

    I can tell you, really quick, that your use of 1 Corinthians 14:34 is actually incorrect. When you read the entire passage you see that that particular verse is actually Paul speaking about the church of Corinth. *They* had that rule. Paul went on to tell them that they were idiots and that the women were just as important as the men in the church. When they speak about “all men” in the bible, they are almost always referring to men and women.

    Also, the Old Testament doesn’t really matter anymore – those were old school laws before the crucifixion and resurrection. Just because they were laws at that time doesn’t mean that GOD is the one that made them.

  13. Finn

    At least that e-mail is fairly straightforward, unlike the video that basically says that Muslims are multiplying like bunnies and implies that they are going outnumber us and take over!

    That’s the crap I get subjected to by my co-workers.

  14. Lisa

    My father-in-law believes all this shit and I have to hear about it every time I talk to him. It drives me insane, but he’s very adamant and close minded about it. In every other way i like and respect him, but this part is really hard to take.

  15. Jen

    I was going to comment on how I get the same stuff from my in-laws all the time and then I read the comments and saw how everyone else gets these emails from their in-laws too. I think the real question we should be asking ourselves is “Is it possible to be a good American and an in-law at the same time?”

  16. hello haha narf

    i hate shit like this. like others have said, as soon as i realize what it is that i was sent i just hit delete. don’t wanna get that shit stuck in the creases of my brain. yuck.
    ya know what amazes me even more is when people who preach tolerance, people who’s opinion matters because they are all about acceptance, when those people get all judgmental and prejudiced and look down their nose or condemn good people who mean well. that shit drives me nuts. (can you tell i just got an email from a “good christian” cousin that bashes “the gays” and that i am sickened by pat robertson?)

  17. Mari

    Seems like everyone needs a reason to hate. Ugh.
    MIL was absolutely CERTAIN that President Obama wasn’t born in this country. I got about a million emails to that effect.
    I heard my (first generation MEXICAN) aunt call the mexicans on the street ‘wetbacks’.
    I worked for a company whose owner was an 80 year old woman – she hated blacks so much that when we had a black temp he was sent home early (with pay!) so she wouldn’t see him when she came in. Thank God she never saw the rest of MY family.
    I’ve seen hateful crap about Jews, Muslims, and just about every single group on the planet.
    Sweet baby Jesus. Some people don’t have enough things to do with their time.

  18. Zakary

    My neighbors, probably the same age as your Papa, forward me shit like this all day long. My in-laws do too.

    I would also like to note that my in-laws have “Where’s the birth certificate?” and “Palin 2012” on the back of their car.

    This was very well written. Well done.

  19. Jennifer

    I get garbage like this all the time from my very racist father.

    I don’t know him very well, but I can tell you that there have been many instances when he’s been derogatory towards minorities in public for no real reason (maybe a little cultural naivety on their part) ad frankly I’m just waiting for him to say the wrong thing to the wrong person.

    I mean, it’s gross when there is a murder, or shooting within a specific group…and he makes a comment about being happy that there is one less “towel head” in the world.

    I’m ashamed to be related to him.

    Great job on debunking. Now if only the rest of the world would think in these terms.

  20. Gina

    I get bullshit like this all the time from people who would swear to you (and believe) that they are not racist (or sexist or homophobic or whatever the issue at hand is), and it never ceases to amaze and disappoint me.

  21. Trishk

    I’ve had to ask several family members to remove me from their email lists because of the crap they send. And they aren’t even inlaws..

    It’s amazing to me how closed minded people still are…but fear does strange things to people.

  22. Sahar

    First: Being in Faiqa’s good graces earns you respect from me:-)
    Second: Thank you for taking time to clear up stupid misconceptions about Islam. “We” need more people out there like you.

  23. Mr Lady

    One of my very best friends, the other woman that my daughter calls Momma, is Muslim. and I’d give her my kids. I’d live with her. I’d marry her if she swung that way. But she’s Canadian, so I guess it’s okay.

  24. kim

    I don’t understand it. My father supported the Civil Rights movement back in the 1960s. We lived in a very racist part of the country, and he was brave enough to speak out against racism. Looking back I was proud of him then and I’m still proud today. But as he got older he seems to have lost his ability to think critically or separate fact from fiction. He is easily persuaded by this kind of shit. I have begun to worry about old age and what I perceive as aging of the mind.

    • Birrie

      My grand mother is the same way, and I have the same concerns. She was very progressive in her time, with the women’s movement and with racial integration. But she has started talking like women should be kept by men, and referring to “the blacks” and – get this “the Spanish” by which she means all brown-skinned peoples of the Hispanic diaspora, mostly Mexicans and Guatemalans where we are. I have tried correcting her, but she’s 89, and I think she’s just done.

  25. Elizabeth Kaylene

    When I first read your title on Facebook, I thought it was gonna be another of your devil’s advocate posts. I’m pretty sure I also commented saying, “Oh boy, you’re just asking for trouble now!” or something like that. I always appreciate your humor, but I appreciate even more your intellect. You tackled this with such grace — sorry, I know that isn’t a manly word, but my brain isn’t working well enough for me to come up with the right one — and make me proud to know you. So many people in this country believe these stupid things — not just about Muslims, but about anyone who is different. I get into arguments all the time with various people I normally respect regarding Muslims. It’s hard when someone you love is so ignorant.

    Thank you for this. I hope people read it and GET it.

  26. Justin

    This got emailed to my wife this week, so I’ve been hoping around the Internet debunking. It was written by a doctor at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. The version floating around via email fails to include the last line:

    “No honest study about any faith on earth can lead to such distortions about the religious and cultural “other.” Muslims like any other peoples who inhabit the USA can love this country or any other country where they settle, without hating others.”

    The whole thing was intended as an intellectual exercise to show how easy it is to distort the beliefs of others. Pass on the truth!

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