Dave Wood, a listener of the Inside Islam radio series on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, writes:
I wish I was writing with typical accolades but unfortunately I’m sending a note about my disappointment in your Inside Islam series. I think it not only lacks objective reporting but, even worse, it whitewashes Islam leaving your listener less prepared to identify radical Islam’s threat to our freedom and culture. Perhaps most important, your program does not challenge Muslims to face the profound human rights issues their religion faces.
I was particularly alarmed by your program on women and sharia. Sharia has enslaved women, minorities and non-Muslims throughout the centuries since Mohammed first swept the Arab peninsula with his armies. Your guest, Asifa Quraishi was very biased in her interpretation of these Islamic laws. She obviously handpicks interpretations of sharia to follow and finds ways to disregard others she opposes. I’m sure we all wish the mullahs in Iran, or clerics in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan or Afghanistan subscribed to Prof. Quraishi’s interpretation of sharia. Considering all aforementioned instances are leading Islamic countries and the home of Islam’s most holy sites, don’t you think you should interview experts who understand sharia as Islamic leaders in these regions implement it too?
My wife and I spent considerable time in Muslim countries including Malaysia, Turkey, and Jordan. I was fascinated with the hospitality, close family ties and prayerful lives of the Muslims I met and observed. When 9/11 occurred, I defended Islam as you are today. But the more I read and learn about the Koran, the more I think there must be a purge of radicalism from Islam before peace between Muslims and non-Muslims can occur.
The Koran and the hadith are filled with Mohammed’s directives to treat women horribly and these verses inform interpretations of the Islamic “holy” laws. Your guest explained the horrible treatment of women by Muslims as solely based on “tribal culture” having nothing to do with sharia. Unfortunately Mohammed’s teachings, as documented in the Koran and the hadith, either affirmed or introduced these practices. This citation that illustrates how Allah allows the abusive treatment of women, comparing them to animals and sex objects, “Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Koran.” (Tabari IX:113)
Other verses define why women in Muslim countries must cover heads and/or bodies. Consider the following verse: “Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and all Muslim women to draw cloaks and veils all over their bodies (screening themselves completely except for one or two eyes to see the way). That will be better.” (Koran 33:59)
Women in Islam are considered unclean and deemed inferior even to dirt (Koran: 4:43). Further verses describe women as equal to half of that of a man, deficient of the mind and not fit to rule. Mohammed states that most residents of hell are women. In the Koran (4:34) men are given clear authority to beat their wives and make them subservient. With such inspiration in Islam’s holiest texts isn’t it obvious why sharia law, as implemented in most Muslim countries, results in tremendous violence perpetrated toward women?
The Koran also clearly allows slavery; Mohammed himself owned dozens of slaves. Mohammed speaks of “consummating” his marriage to his 9-year-old wife. What kind of man does this? Mohammed led numerous armies in war to spread his religion and instructed his soldiers to behead all prisoners. Perhaps the most egregious directive Mohammed made was to repeatedly instruct his followers to convert by any means possible and if resistance was still met then he gave clear directive to “kill the infidel.”
I’m sure most Muslims do not believe in the clearly violent parts of their holy texts. But why aren’t these moderate Muslims calling for reform of the Koran? I can understand their lack of protest in countries where sharia would crush them for defacing Islam, but why aren’t American or European Muslims publicly objecting to large swaths of the Koran that clearly promote violence? Why isn’t Professor Quraishi using her influence to reform her faith instead of refusing to even acknowledge the elephant (or perhaps shall I say women-eating-lion) in the middle of the room? Finally, what is your excuse for not exposing these obvious underpinnings of Islam that inspire hatred and violence on a daily basis around the world? You title your program Inside Islam. You can’t get more “inside” Islam than to objectively report the truth about the Koran.
I also think your analogy of violence in both Islam and Christianity misses the mark. Obviously Christians have committed many atrocities in the name of Christ, but the difference is that these people commit violence in direct opposition to all teachings in the New Testament. Contrast this to how Muslims are given clear mandate (or at minimum inspiration mimicking the action of their prophet) in the Koran and the hadith to abuse women, kill infidels, force conversion, commit incest, murder prisoners and conquer non-Muslim lands. Mohammed gave clear example through his actions, as documented in the hadith, that violence in the name of spreading Islam is good. Contrast these teachings to the peaceful life of Jesus as documented in the New Testament.
I encourage you to read the enclosed book, They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, by Brigitte Gabriel (2008). Ms. Gabriel understands these issues and is risking her life to confront radical Islam. I encourage you to have her on as a guest.
I realize your goal is to spread peace and understanding, unfortunately I think your actions in covering up the dangerous underpinnings of Islam inadvertently aid the continued propagation of violence inspired by the Prophet Mohammed. I realize quality journalism requires money and that is why our financial support of WPR is unwavering despite your inadvertent violent actions. I encourage you to reconsider your program’s content.
Listen to “Women and Sharia” and get additional information on the show and related topics here on Inside Islam. Do you have anything to add to our list of resources? Do you think that the Inside Islam radio show whitewashes Muslim issues? Please send us your response by email or leave a comment below.