I received the following email from a non-Muslim friend and colleague. It’s about a chain email that is spreading misinformation about Islam and Muslims. I’m reproducing my email exchange with my friend so that I can publicly put this and similar issues to rest:
I often receive emails such as the following. I am not sure how to handle them and thus have been reluctant to send them on. I could use some education and guidance. If these incidents related to our ‘diversification’ programs, which are rampant in businesses and government agencies and are aimed at getting people to understand other people’s biases, are really happening, then we have a real problem developing in America. I would like to see the [Organization name withheld] take steps that will change the hearts and minds of both sides on this issue, but have no idea how to accomplish that.
Is there truth to the fact that any of the responses of the Imam’s being cited below are or could be the real responses spoken or advocated by the leaders of Islam?
[My friend’s name]
I saw the chain of emails extend back to 6 different senders over the span of three days, with each forwarding the email to up to 30 people. The subject line started the chain as “Fwd: Fwd: Infidel- please read” , which indicates the chain started even before this 6 degrees of separation from my friend, then the person who sent it to my friend changed the subject line to: “FW: Infidels are to choose: Convert or Die.” That individual’s signature indicates he’s a business man who owns/operates multiple companies as they were listed under his name.
So, what is the message that all these people received, and some felt compelled to forward? Here it is:
Subject: What Is an Infidel
This is so appropriate today…The author, Rick Mathes, is a well-known leader in prison ministry. The man who walks with God always gets to his destination. If you have a pulse you have a purpose.
The Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion per capita in the United States especially in the minority races.
Last month I attended my annual training session that’s required for maintaining my state prison security clearance.
During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who each explained their beliefs.
I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Muslim gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.
After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.
When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Muslim And asked: “Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world and, that by killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?
There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, ‘Non-believers!’
I responded, ‘So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can have a place in heaven.
Is that correct?’
The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
He sheepishly replied, ‘Yes.’
I then stated, ‘Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine The Pope commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven!’
The Muslim was speechless.
I continued, ‘I also have a problem with being your friend When you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask you a question:
Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and He wants you to be there with me?’
You could have heard a pin drop.
Needless to say, the organizers and/or promoters of the ‘Diversification’ training seminar were not happy with my way of dealing with the Islamic Imam, and exposing the truth about the Muslims’ beliefs.
In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the President.
I think everyone in the U.S. should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
I wrote a lengthy reply to my friend (see Part 2), but it wasn’t till after I already sent the reply that I searched the name of the prison minister from the story and found out the story goes back to 2004 or maybe even earlier, so you can imagine how many people were influenced by it since. I also found out that the story is being partially or wholly debunked on a number of websites, including “Truth or Fiction”: https://www.truthorfiction.com/infidels/ and “Snopes”: http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/allah.asp. In the latter, it was reported that:
Reporter Greg Kearney, writing for the Lee News Service, traced the story to a correctional facility in Fulton, Missouri, and came away with a decidedly different version of events from Missouri state officials.
According to Tim Kniest, Public Information Officer for the Missouri Department of Corrections, the event described was a training program for prison volunteers, for which ministers from several faiths were invited to give presentations in order to acquaint prison volunteers with the varied religious beliefs of the inmate population. The man who gave the presentation about Islam was not a Muslim minister; he was an inmate pressed into service to present a short film on Islam and answer some questions when the prison’s Volunteer Coordinator was “unable to find an Imam to speak.”
Moreover, reported Mr. Kniest, the prison’s Volunteer Coordinator said that “The inmate did a good job,” adding, “He was asked a few questions that were beyond his ability to answer. But he was not asked anything like that question [in the editorial]”
But in any case, I had already sent a reply to my friend, which tackled the theological issues of infidels and killing others. My reply will be reproduced in Part 2 to come.