In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Dr. Michael Savage, nationally syndicated talk-radio host, recently made several angry comments about Islam and Muslims on his show on October 29, 2007. I know they were angry, because I personally heard him say them. I tried, to the best of my ability, to transcribe word for word some of them to correct some of the errors of his contentions about Islam and the Qur'an.
Now, Dr. Savage is wholly entitled to his views on Islam and Muslims, and I am not here to pick a fight with him or his listeners. While I do not agree with his views, I do respect his right to believe what he believes. But, there are some things in what he said that are simply not accurate.
For instance, on his program, he said: "I'm not gonna put my wife in a hijab. And I'm not gonna put my daughter in a burqa. And I'm not gettin on my all-fours and praying to Mecca. And you could drop dead if you don't like it. You can shove it up your pipe. I don't wanna hear anymore about Islam. I don't wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I'm sick of you ."
Now, I think I can speak for the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world, not only in America, when I say that I don't want his wife to be in a hijab or his daughter to be in a burqa. Why, there are millions of Muslim women – pious, devout Muslim women whom I consider my sisters in faith – who do not wear the hijab. I am against compelling anyone to follow another's religious beliefs. The Qur'an, the book which Dr. Savage said is a "book of hate," tells me: "There is no compulsion in matters of religion." (2:256)
Similarly, when he says "I'm not gettin on my all-fours and praying to Mecca," that's totally fine. I have no problem with this at all. Yet, when we Muslims do that – get on our "all-fours" and pray to Mecca – we are only following in the footsteps of the Prophets of the Bible:
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying…" (Genesis 17:1-3)
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?" (Joshua 5:13-14)
"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:37-39)
Dr. Savage also said: "Your Bible has been revised several times. The Jewish Bible has been revised several times. Not the Koran, though. They still live in the Seventh Century. 'Kill homosexuals, cut the clitoris off women, put women in dark clothing, cut off anyone's head who doesn't agree with you.' What kind of religion is this ?…I can read chapter and verse. I can see what it says in their book of hate. It says that if you see a stranger who is not a Muslim, either convert him or kill him. You want me to quote the sutra, I'll quote the sutra. Page after page after page is about…a religion that teaches convert or kill, a religion that says oppress women, kill homosexuals, kill the Jew, kill the Christian, kill the infidel, page after page after page and we're supposed to sit here and listen to this rubbish about a religion of peace ."
Now, I agree with Dr. Savage that, if the Qur'an did in fact say the things above, if what he says is Islam, then I would be completely against that religion. Yet, Islam is not that religion. Islam does not call for the murder of anyone (although some Muslims do). There is no verse in the Qur'an that says "convert or kill." None. I am a staunch defender of freedom of faith (see the link on the right). I have condemned, citing the Qur'an itself, the view that those who leave Islam should be killed.
The Qur'an does not say "kill the Christian," or "kill the Jew," or "kill the infidel." Most certainly, there are Muslims who claim this, but they are completely wrong. They are as much my enemy as they are Dr. Savage's. When it comes to Jews and Christians, the Qur'an says this: " Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords besides God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him) " (3:64) The Qur'an is ardent in its defense of the sanctity of human life:
And do not take any human being's life – [the life] which God has willed to be sacred – otherwise than in [the pursuit] of justice…" (17:33).
And the servants of the Most Gracious are those who…invoke not, with God, any other god, nor slay such life as God has made sacred except for just cause… (25:63-68)
These are but two of the many, many verses that specifically prohibit murder of the innocent.
Furthermore, no verse in the Qur'an instructs Muslims to "cut the clitoris off women" (although some Muslims, abhorrently, do just that). Female genital mutilation, in fact, predates Christ by thousands of years, as even Ayaan Hirsi Ali admits. It has nothing to do with Islam, no matter how many Muslims may think the contrary. The Qur'an does not call for women to be put in "dark clothing." I do not know from where Dr. Savage got his facts about Islam. The religion of which he speaks is not the religion that I follow, not by a long shot.
To be absolutely clear, I am not calling Dr. Savage a liar. Yet, the things he said about the Qur'an are simply not correct, and I just wanted to correct those mistakes. And God knows best.