Obama praises Islam at Ramadan meal
The Jerusalem Post (Link) - AP (September 2, 2009)
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised American Muslims for enriching the nation's culture at a dinner to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
"The contribution of Muslims to the United States are too long to catalog because Muslims are so interwoven into the fabric of our communities and our country," Obama said at the iftar, the dinner that breaks the holiday's daily fast.
The president joined Cabinet secretaries, members of the diplomatic corps and lawmakers to pay tribute to what he called "a great religion and its commitment to justice and progress."
Attendees included Congress' two Muslim members - Reps. Keith Ellison and Andre Carson as well as ambassadors from Islamic nations and Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.
Obama shared the story of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, another invited guest, who broke a state record for most career points as a Massachusetts high school student.
"As an honor student, as an athlete on her way to Memphis,
Bilqis is an inspiration not simply to Muslim girls - she's an inspiration to
all of us," he said.
Obama also noted the contributions of Muhammad Ali, who was not in attendance, though the president borrowed a quote from famous boxer, explaining religion.
"A few years ago," Obama said, "he explained this view - and this is part of why he's The Greatest - saying, 'Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams - they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do - they all contain truths.'"
Ramadan, a monthlong period of prayer, reflection and sunrise-to-sunset fasts, began Aug. 22 in most of the Islamic world. It is believed that God began revealing the Quran to Muhammad during Ramadan, and the faithful are supposed to spend the month in religious reflection, prayer and remembrance of the poor.
White House dinners marking the holy month are nothing new. Former President George W. Bush held iftars during his eight years in office.
Obama has made a special effort since taking office to repair US relations with the world's Muslims, including visits to Turkey and Cairo. In a June speech at the Egyptian capital, as well as in one to another important Muslim audience, in Turkey, Obama said: "America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam."
Obama also released a video message to Muslims before the start to Ramadan. In the video, he said Ramadan's rituals are a reminder of the principles Muslims and Christians have in common, including advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
I believe the written word of any religion is the true definition of what that religion stands for. As a Christian, I am told from the Bible that I am to love even my enemies and that vengeance is the Lord's, He alone will repay. As Christians, we are not commanded to dominate the world and force it to become Christian. In fact, as part of the prophecies of the last days, those who follow Christ will be persecuted and hated by the world in spite of this command to love. We are to share the Gospel of Truth, but even God doesn't infringe on mans' free-will and neither should His followers. We are to live and let live, bringing hope to the lost through the saving knowledge of God's plan of redemption through Yeshua. Acceptance of this message is wholly up to the hearer.
Islam has a different active set of commands, leading to domination of the world, bringing Islam. I would recommend reading through Craig Winn's website/book Prophet of Doom for much greater detail and light shining on Islam.
"O Prophet! Make war against the unbelievers [all non-Muslims] and the hypocrites and be merciless against them. Their home is hell, an evil refuge indeed." (Koran, 9:73)
"When you meet the unbelievers in jihad [holy war], chop off their heads. And when you have brought them low, bind your prisoners rigorously. Then set them free or take ransom from them until the war is ended." (Koran, 47:4)
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be to be killed or crucified, or to have their hands and feet chopped off on opposite sides, or to be expelled out of the land. Such will be their humiliation in the world, and in the next world they will face an awful horror." (Koran, 5:33-34)
"When we decide to destroy a population, we send a definite order to them who have the good things in life and yet sin. So that Allah's word is proven true against them, then we destroy them utterly." (Koran, 17:16-17)
"In order that Allah may separate the pure from the impure, put all the impure ones [all non-Muslims] one on top of another in a heap and cast them into hell. They will have been the ones to have lost." (Koran, 8:37)
"How many were the populations we utterly destroyed because of their sins, setting up in their place other peoples." (Koran, 21:11)
"Remember Allah inspired the angels: I am with you. Give firmness to the believers. I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: you smite them above their necks and smite all their fingertips off of them." (Koran, 8:12)
In his Letter to a US Soldier, Craig writes, "As you have likely experienced, not all Muslims are bad. Many are very good people. However, they are by Islamic definition, 'hypocrites' - very bad Muslims - and "good" Muslims are told that these apostates are even worse than Christians and Jews. You can read what Muhammad and Allah have to say about them in the Peaceful Muslims section of the Islamic Quotes area of Prophet of Doom."
There is a war for the soul of mankind and it is prophetically foretold in the Bible coming to a head at a time yet future. The players are coming together and Islam stands a strong force fitting with many aspects of the prophecies. It is my belief that "doing something" about it is pointless as what God said would happen will, whether we like it or not. Whether I'm right or wrong, I fully expect Islam to play a major role in the persecution of Christians and Jews prophesied in the Bible, but I will continue to pray for those whom God will call to Himself while sharing the Gospel with anyone who will hear it while loving my enemy and turning the other cheek. I just think it behooves us to be aware of the reality of our situation and also understand that God says what He means and means what He says. Keep watching!