So as non -Muslims we obviously cannot rely on this to happen. Which is one of the reasons that we must continue to get our message out. Keep up the good work guys!
Nashville activists warn churchgoers of violent threats to America; Muslims call campaign unfair
BY BOB SMIETANA AND KATE HOWARD • THE TENNESSEAN • DECEMBER 6, 2009
A belief that Muslims are out to destroy the American way of life is gaining a foothold in some Christian and Jewish circles in Nashville.
The movement spreads its message through films, books and the Internet.
Its sentiment: Islam is an evil religion rooted in hatred and nurtured by violence.
Some churches have gotten involved, hosting viewings of movies that alert Jews and Christians of the perceived dangers worldwide. One film, produced by a local filmmaker, warns that a second Holocaust is imminent if Americans do not stand united politically with Israel.
Muslims say the messages are an unfair characterization of their beliefs that began with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and are perpetuated whenever someone professing to be a Muslim commits an act of violence,in Texas.
“We have become the bogeyman of the world,”said Amir Arain, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Nashville, the city’s oldest mosque, founded in 1979. “Fringe fundamentalists they are talking about, that they think defines Islam, is only 1 to 2 percent, and we do agree that there is a problem. It’s a very small quantity or small group of the whole Muslim ummah, or nation, that has somehow hijacked our faith.”
In a recent survey, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 52 percent of those polled admit they are extremely concerned about Islamic extremism.
Unreliable information about Islam is making matters worse, said Warren Larson, director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University in South Carolina. Larson, a Christian and former missionary who lived in Pakistan for 23 years, says anti-Muslim groups are taking the wrong approach.
“I don’t think they are helping us appreciate and love Muslims as much as they are getting us to hate Muslims,” he said. He advocates converting Muslims to Christianity through a message of love.
The group has shown films like Homegrown Jihad, which alleges there are 35 terrorist training camps in the United States, and First Comes Saturday, Then Comes Sunday, which claims Muslims will first destroy Jews and then Christians. It also runs a blog at actwestnashville.com, with links to Web sites like Jihadwatch.com.
Act West Nashville spokesman Vijay Kumar, who was born in India but is now an American citizen, thinks the United States should ban immigration from Islamic countries. The group has met to share its concerns with 40 churches and community groups, Kumar said, but he refused to name them, citing privacy concerns of the host groups.
Rabbi Saul Strosberg, of Congregation Sherith Israel of Nashville, agrees that radical Islam is a threat. He met with members of Act West Nashville but isn’t convinced a fear-based response to Islam will help anyone.
“There are a lot of people in Nashville and Act! For America who want to expose the dangerous elements of Quran,” he said. “I say great, we should all learn about each other’s religion. But the question is, What’s next? What are you prepared to do next, once you say that half the world or a third of the world is your enemy? Once we’ve scared each other to death, what is the next step?