Richard Land inquires of Islam where are its peaceful followers

by Dwayne Hastings, posted Wednesday, August 28, 2002 (16 years ago)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Despite the claims by its adherents that Islam is a peace-loving religion, Richard Land is asking for proof.

"Where are the peaceful followers of Islam?" the nationally syndicated radio host asked Aug. 24. "And why aren't they condemning the radical fanatics within their midst who are perpetuating crimes against humanity in the name of the Islamic religion?"

Christian churches are being attacked in Pakistan, and Christians are being slaughtered in Indonesia -- all at the hands of Muslim extremists, Land said, noting 11 Pakistani Christians are jailed in Pakistan under the nation's harsh blasphemy laws. Two of the men are slated to die by hanging because they refuse to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, Land said, citing reports from the Compass Direct news service (www.compassdirect.org).

The Muslim government of Sudan is practicing an Islamic war of genocide, a jihad, against all the Christians and animists in the south, Land said during his program, "Richard Land Live!" "In the name of Allah, they have killed over 2 million of the nation's non-Muslim population, bombing hospitals and other relief centers."

And since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, there has been much discussion about whether this "vicious violence" represents true Islam or whether it is just an aberration within that religion, Land said. "So where are the peaceful Muslims protesting the violence and mayhem that is being waged in their name? Where are the protests from the so-called peace-loving followers of Islam in the U.S.?" he asked again.

Richard Land Live! is a caller-driven, midday talk program that airs each Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Eastern time over the Salem Radio Network.

Land said he has been told that many Muslims are afraid they would be targeted for violence themselves if they criticized the actions of fanatical followers of Islam. "That's even worse," Land continued. "How can you call it a peace-loving religion if even in this country moderately minded followers of Islam are afraid to speak out because their family might be physically attacked by their brethren?

"Their silence is deafening," said Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "There is not a country in the world where Muslims are in the majority that they don't severely restrict the freedom of religion of every other faith. They seek to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun. They kill people who disagree with them or who dare to convert to another faith.

"I'll take Islam as a peaceful religion seriously when I see followers of Islam in America protesting and condemning suicide bombers, anti-Semitic hate speech and genocide in the Sudan," Land said.

He expressed shock at a curriculum promoted on the Internet site of the National Education Association, the largest teachers' union in the country, that purports to aid teachers and parents in marking the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on America by urging them not to blame any particular group for the deadly attacks.

The lesson plan says any discussion of the events of Sept. 11 must avoid the suggestion that Islamic fanaticism can be blamed, he said, noting in effect the material points a finger of blame for the attacks at the United States. The curriculum material says authorities have no reason to believe "the attacks on our country were part of an organized plan of any other country," he said.

"Oh, really!" Land exclaimed. "What about the Taliban? What about Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden was an honored guest?

"There is no question of who carried out these attacks," he continued, expressing shock at the curriculum's suggestion. "Osama bin Laden bragged about it; he claimed credit for it.

"Was it just happenstance that every person who flew one of those planes into a building and every person that was part of the planning was an Islamic fanatic?" Land asked.

Land said the NEA website calls on parents and teachers to "address the issue of blame" factually and to refrain from suggesting that any particular group is responsible for the deadly attacks on America.

"If we are going to address it factually, then we have to say, 'Yes, a group is responsible and that group is Al Queda,'" he said.

According to the NEA website, students should focus on episodes of intolerance in America's past, Land continued, noting the site mentioned "historical instances of American intolerance" such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the backlash against Arab-Americans during the Gulf War.

The NEA-supported material says the best way to protect America from future assaults of this nature is to embrace all religions and all sexual orientations," Land continued, asking, "What is the author of this curriculum saying? That if we don't embrace all sexual orientations the radical fringe of the Gay and Lesbian Caucus is going to fly a plane into a building? This is crazy."

There is not a whiff of a pro-American message in these NEA lesson plans, Land said.

"In this Alice-in-Wonderland world of political correctness we live in, we are supposed to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11 with no mention of brave firefighters and policemen, no mention of the bravery of the men who fought to take control of United Flight 93 that crashed in a Pennsylvania field, and no hint of the bravery of our men and women in uniform who are rooting out the Taliban and Al Queda in freeing the Afghanistan people.

"The one thing the NEA says you shouldn't do is say that 'America is good' or that 'America is better than others are,'" he continued. The NEA refuses to affirm the goodness of American culture or traditional Western values, Land added.

Land also cited a public school in Byron, Calif., where students were practicing what school administrators called an Islam simulation, as another example of relativistic educators running amok.

"This was not studying about Islam; it was asking students to pretend they were Muslims, to dress like Muslims, to pray toward Mecca like Muslims and to engage in fasting, not having lunches," Land said. "This is outrageous." Two families have filed a federal lawsuit against the Byron Union School District alleging the Muslim-simulation program at Excelsior School violated students' First Amendment rights.

"You can't have a public school asking students to simulate being part of a religion," Land insisted. "Can you imagine the hue and cry that would come from the ACLU and others if a public school was holding a Christian simulation with students practicing Christianity by taking communion, praying and baptizing one another?"

The courts have consistently said such activities aren't permissible when they involve Christian prayer in public schools, but apparently this California school believes it is proper to indoctrinate seventh-graders in the Muslim faith, Land said.

"I don't care what religion it is; it is a violation of the rights of the students and the parents and an improper use of the school's authority," Land said.

"If the court says a public school paying for a microphone causes speech to be unconstitutional because the state is somehow construed as supporting religion, how is this not the state supporting Islam?" he asked, citing a case decided last year by the Supreme Court involving the Santa Fe, Texas, school district. The court ruled student-initiated, student-led, student content-dictated voluntary prayer before a high school football game was unconstitutional because the school provided the public address system.

"It's one thing to learn about the basic teachings of different world religions, but to determine that students will be imitating the practices of a particular faith -- whether it be Christian, Jewish or Islamic -- that is a violation of the constitutional rights of the parents and the students," Land said. "It is just a bad idea."


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