WHAT THE PRESS LEAVES OUT OF ITS
[It is] important over the long run that our press educators alert us to the warlike propensities of a large chunk of Islam, not just an extremist faction.
Christianity has had its belligerent eras, but the religion spread over its first three centuries through martyrdom, not by aggression. Islam's expansion was different. Sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa during the first century after Muhammad's death in 632, Islam by 732 dominated Spain and [was] known in China. Had Charles "the Hammer" Martel not led Christian forces that latter year to a victory over Muslim invaders in southern France, Islam might have conquered Europe.
Muslim military effort gained a great impetus from the Quran, which teaches that "Truly Allah loves those who fight in His cause in battle array" (Sura 61:4). The Quran particularly condemns pacifists: "O ye who believe! What is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth?...Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place" (Sura 9:38-39; note also 4:74-76 and 61:10-12).
When those conquered have not beenobliging, in some cases they have had the choice of praising Allah or taking a sword in their gut. Most Americans know little of this, nor how the Quran encourages war against non-Muslims.
Many people who enjoy having morning newspapers along with their coffee would be surprised to find that their local papers act as sleeping pills when it comes to covering not only Islam but other [non-Christian] religions.
Drawing from an examination of several thousand newspaper articles from January 2000 to January 2003, what follows provides examples of two press tendencies - superficiality and syncretism [attempting to merge religions] - and raises questions about what we're missing [in most news reports]. We'll begin with what readers in the United States are learning about Iraq.
Saddam, who rose to power as a secular semi-socialist, is now committed to Islam. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the only other [the Washington Post was the first one] major newspaper through the end of January to explore seriously the possible effect of Saddam's new Islamic emphasis.
The Iraqi press has certainly been pushing hard and stating that any who die fighting Israel or the United States are martyrssuch martyrs [says the daily Al-Jumhuriya] have "a great status in the eyes of AllahWith the first drop of blood [the martyr] is given absolution and he can see his seat in paradise. He is spared the torture of the grave. He is secure from the Great Horror [of Judgment Day]. He is crowned with the crown of glory. He marries black-eyed [virgins]. He can vouch for seventy of his relatives [to enter paradise]."
How deeply do Iraqis believe this?...If death in battle will yield a guaranteed trip to Islam's heaven, they will fight hard. What is it for most Iraqis? That is a crucial question, but U.S. press avoidance of many religious questions leaves us without [an answer].
Many news papers and magazines offered crash courses on the basics of Islam following the destruction of the World Trade Center towersSadly newspaper presentation of the basics was generally done in the context of stories that advocated the positive, toleration, without coming to grips with the negative, the existence for centuries of a sizeable war party within Islam. Instead of describing both faces of Islam, reporters displayed superficiality and tried to foster syncretism [trying to merge religions together].
Sadly the U.S. press has not delved into the debate[so] some Americans think Islam is a religion of war and others think it is a religion of peace, but few see that it is and has been both at various times.
Major theological differences [between Islam and Christianity] tended to be reported in an "Oh, by the way" manner: [for instance] the Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville) stated that "Muslims believe in all of God's prophets, including Jesus Christ. However, they believe that Muhammad was the last and final prophet." Oh, that's it? But Christianity is based on the belief not that Christ is one among many prophets, but that He is the Son of God. Many newspapers have reported variations on the theme: "Same God: Muslims accept the teachings of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Gospels." That's not true; Muslims accept those teachings only when they conform to the teachings of the Quran, and often they do not.
Can we [the press] do better? Sure we can. United Press International's Uwe Siemon-Netto [a lone voice] showed how in an article that took aim on syncretismHe noted that "Syncretism, or the mixing of religious doctrines, is en vogue in this giddy postmodern eraTruth is syncretism's first casualty because honesty falls by the way side."
The story succinctly noted the error of simply saying that both Islam and Christianity "revere Jesus, affirm His virgin birth, and await His ultimate return to judge the living and the dead." Of course, there is a huge difference. To Muslims, Jesus is the second-ranking prophet who never died on the cross. To Christians, He is the incarnation of the very aspect of God that created the universe. In Christ, God made Himself small for humanity's salvation. These differences are insuperable, if you wish to engage in an honest theological discourse.
It is neither wise nor compassionate to remain uninformed about [certain] fiery rulings, and whether they have any basis in the Quran. Nor is it wise, when one culture may be threatening another, to settle for the most superficial coverage of that culture's belief, or to assume that both cultures have essentially the same understanding of who God is.
Dr. Hymers' note: As Mr. Olasky pointed out so well, the press and other liberal media venues have not given us the truth about Islam. To obtain a clear picture of Islam, as an enemy of Judaism and Christianity, you should buy a copy of our book, Demons in the Smoke of the World Trade Center. I think it gives the best and truest picture of world-wide Islam you will find anywhere. Read it and decide for yourself. Phone (818)352-0452 and order Demons in the Smoke of the World Trade Center. The price is $15.95. Or you can order it by sending a check for $15.95, and ordering it by name, to Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA.
If the media won't give us the truth about Islam, we should turn to publications like World - and to books like ours.