Mosquing the Issue

As it happens, I live very close to the mosque that will likely be built in Brookfield.  I have a few thoughts on this issue.

1) Nancy Jo Baratti goes too far in her editorial against the mosque.  She cites the worst atrocities committed by Muslims as being representative of the Muslim people as a whole.  Most Muslims are not extremists. By the standard she applies, any religion or philosophy could be invalidated.

2) Having said that, as things stand today, there is a disproportate amount of evil actions today come out of the Muslim world.  As Dennis Prager wrote recently:


Nothing produces atheists like despicable religious people. They do far more harm to religious faith than all the atheist writers and activists in the world put together.

Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the ayatollahs, Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, the Taliban, and all the other Islamist organizations actually decrease the number of believers in the world.

Over the course of time, people do not judge religions by their theology. Yes, some people convert to a religion thanks to its convincing theology. And many remain in a religion because of family ties, cultural norms, and sheer inertia. But over time, religion — and faith in God itself — is judged by its fruit. Which is how it should be.

And the best-known fruit of Islam today — in countries calling themselves Muslim, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Taliban Afghanistan, and certainly among the Islamist groups mentioned above — is so ugly that many millions of people are increasingly repelled by religion and by God.


It would be hard for a fair-minded person to disagree with any of that.  And as one who believes that human goodness at a macro level increases with belief and God, I find the evil committed in the name of Allah to be very troubling.

3) So combining my two points above, I have a recommendation for non-extremist Muslims who happen to be reading this:  you must fight hard to preserve the reputation of your faith.  When extremist Muslims do evil, you must denounce it promptly and loudly.

My belief is that a lot fewer non-Muslims would lump all Muslims together if there was a clear voice coming from the Muslim community condemning the evil done by extremist Muslims.  Saying “we’re not like that” isn’t enough.  You have to call out the evil actions of your fellow Muslims for what they are.


  1. J. Strupp says:

    Kinda works like this:

    Everyone knows that Catholic leadership is responsible for a disproportionate amount of child molestation and rape compared to other faiths. Therefore, I have a recommendation for non-child raping Catholics who happen to be reading this: you must fight hard to preserve the reputation of your faith. Saying “we’re not like that” isn’t enough. You have to call out the evil actions of your fellow child raping Catholics for what they are. I think a lot fewer non-Catholics would lump all Catholics together if there was a clear voice coming from the Catholic community condemning the evil done by child raping Catholics.

    Bottom line: Non-radical Muslims have denounced the actions of 9/11 and radical Islam in general for a long time. Non-Muslims need to stop telling peaceful Muslims that they should wear a scarlett letter for something they have openly denounced, even though it might not be a “clear voice”, spoken from the Muslim community. We need to leave these people alone. Let them worship where they please, let them live their lives, stop labeling and punishing these folks for something that they had nothing to do with. It’s ugly. And it says more about you than it does them.

    My 2 cents.

  2. BrkfldDad says:

    Strupp – your ignorance is alarming. There’s thousands of sources out there to refute your idiocy. I’ll link one here –

    Do some simple research of the independent reports developed by the liability insurance firms and you’ll find you are truly, no matter what you believe or practice, the pot calling the kettle black.

  3. BrkfldDad says:

    Ryan – there are very clear voices coming from tbe Muslim community condemning the extremists. The problem, as it is with many of the world’s religions, is that the lack of a central authority means many of those voices carry little or no sway/weight.

  4. Randy in Richmond says:

    The Catholic Church has issues with individuals within it’s midst. Their misdeeds, however, are not in the name of God or the Church itself. This is not true of the radical Islamists.

  5. J. Strupp says:

    That took exactly 12 minutes.

    BrkfldDad, my point is that the same false logic can be used to condemn members of a different religion who have nothing to do with the scandal/violence from a extreme group of that religion. Neither group should feel the need to have to defend themselves at every turn because people from different faiths and communities demand that they should. Somehow, many Americans think that Muslims are exempt from this idea (not you apparently) because, well, they’re somehow different from the rest of society.

  6. J. Strupp says:

    Randy, you seem to be saying that their “misdeeds” are somehow lesser in degree because those priests weren’t working in the name of God or on the Church’s behalf?

    This is off the subject of my first comment but I tend to disagree with that.

    You could also say that Islam has issues with individuals in it’s midst, no? I’m certain that mainstream Muslims would not agree that these extremists are serving the same God.

  7. Randy in Richmond says:

    I’m saying the priests (or whatever) are acting individually and not as Catholics. This in no way excuses their abhorrent behavior. The radical Islamists are acting on behalf of their faith and in the name of their god. Islamic terrorists are motivated by their beliefs and their religion. The Catholic officials are motivated by their own twisted, individual – let’s call them – urges.

  8. Ryan Morgan says:

    First of all, I didn’t hear any accounts of priests shouting “Glory to God” as they were molesting children. That fact would seem to support Randy’s point that priests are religious men doing evil whereas Muslim terrorists are religious men doing evil explicitly in the name of God.

    Secondly, I think your first paragraph in your original reply was actually fair. And I think Prager would say that the molestation in the Catholic church gave God a black eye much like Islamic evil. The difference is that the Catholic church did not only condemn these evil actions and take actions to address the problem. I sure wish we could see a drop in Islamic terrorism like we see in Priest abuse in this graph:

    Maybe BrkfldDad is right and there are lots of moderate Muslims out there boldly proclaiming what their fellow Muslims are doing is evil, but I sure haven’t seen that to be the case…. do you have any links in support of this claim?

    To introduce another example, even the most conservative Christian organizations like the Southern Baptists condemn evil actions done in the name of Christ like burning Korans or protesting funerals.

    How about we make a deal…. Christians continue to clearly and unambiguously condemn burning Korans, and in exchange, Muslims can condemn the murdering innocent non-Muslims.

  9. Scott Berg says:

    In fact, the Milwaukee Islamic Association has made such a denunciation. This is an excerpt of a letter sent to all city officials in response to an uninformed diatribe on a recent local radio show.

    5. Islamic Society of Milwaukee’s unequivocal stance against terrorism
    a. The Islamic Society of Milwaukee is also an organizational signatory to the 2005 Fiqh Council of North America Edict against Terrorism
    b. The Islamic Society of Milwaukee issued the following statement shortly after the 9/11 attack:
    “(Milwaukee, Wisconsin – September 11, 2001) – The Islamic Society of Milwaukee completely condemns this morning’s plane attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. We support all efforts to investigate and immediately capture the evil persons responsible for these immoral and cowardly acts. Certainly, there is no justification for these acts from either an Islamic perspective or, in truth, from the perspective of any other moral and freedom-loving people. These acts diminish the freedom of all Americans, including American Muslims. Our condolences go out to all of the victims of these inhumane acts.”
    c. The Islamic Society of Milwaukee is also a signatory to the 2004 Not In Our Name petition, which states in part:
    “We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent. No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam. We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts. We refuse to allow our faith to be held hostage by the criminal actions of tiny minority acting outside the teachings of both the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”

  10. Unfortunately, few Americans are aware of Islam’s dichotomous doctrine of wala wa bara which is often translated as loyalty and enmity. Wala requires Muslims to disassociate themselves from non-Muslims, to have enmity and to be disloyal to them. For details reference al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s treatise titled Loyalty and Enmity. People in the West, from their own cultural viewpoint, often associate displays of piety and religious observance with peace and goodwill. Many terrorists are often described as “very devoutly religious”. The fact is that there is no inconsistency between piety and prayer on one hand and jihad and deceit on the other hand. These concepts are both codified in Sharia. Upholding one doctrine often leads to upholding the other. Loyalty to fellow Muslims naturally translates into disloyalty to non-Muslims. I would thoroughly investigate the leaders of the proposed mosque and I, and others, consider the organization CAIR, cited by another poster, to be on the deceitful side.

  11. I’m glad CAIR released that statement. I hope every mosque in the country signed on to it and I hope they and other organizations released similar statements for the Fort Hood Massacre, the train bombings in Europe, etc.

  12. Ryan, thanks so much for the post.

    (We break for a bit of an immature snicker on my part: Scott Berg still reads my blog!)

    Here’s the problem I’ve always had with Muslims repudiating the Jihadist mentality that has burdened the modern world: crap lot of good that has done, huh? I mean, at least in the Catholic version of the religious fiasco that’s been mentioned, there’s all kinds of suing going on. What? Someone’s going to file against Osama bin Laden?

    Muslims repudiate the violence and dissociate, but do they actually condemn the killings? Will they stand beside us and die beside us in order to protect their newly-adopted American way of life?

    It’s not a hate-filled question. It’s a real question.

    Yes, our laws, the brilliant and tolerant laws of the United States of America, say they can build a mosque pretty much anywhere they please. They will, as a community, be expected to prove themselves as good neighbors, just like any other religious organization. And that doesn’t mean keeping to themselves and hoping they are ignored.

    As I said in a previous post, the Sikh community has been a great neighbor. But Sikh’s weren’t responsible for the most damning act of terrorism in American history. (Some of the men just wear funny scarves on their heads and confuse most midwesterners. 😉 That is a bit of humor here. For all our religious “tolerance” I do feel for the most part we superior and well-educated Brookfield folk practice a great deal of religious ignorance in the Midwest.)

    I’ll be patient, but I’m not extremely hopeful. There is an element of predisposed attitude that effects a very high burden of acceptance. It is my personal experience the attitude is conveyed from both sides of this particular religious divide.

    Bottom line: build it, but don’t expect a red carpet welcome from every resident of the community.

  13. David Huber says:

    This discussion can’t be about religion unless you think that the City of Brookfield could legally make a decision to discriminate against one particular religion. They can’t. So folk, move to the real issues that the city can make decisions on. Those are land development, zoning, land use and traffic flow and safety to the location, noise, environmental protection, loss of tax revenue in an industrial district. If you don’t like the mosque then oppose it within the law, this is how environmentalists successfully blocked new mining in Wisconsin, or a Keystone pipeline. Opposers, you gotta play on the city’s play ground not in outer space.

  14. Randy in Richmond says:
  15. None of those hold that I’m aware, so this is pretty much a done deal.

    It just feels good to talk it out.