[NOTE: An edited version of this commentary was published today by the Washington Times. SEE: True Islam Teaches Equality]
By Ibrahim Hooper
[Ibrahim Hooper is national communications director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org]
In her recent anti-Islam diatribe masquerading as a legitimate condemnation of female genital mutilation (FGM) [“The Islam clash in America,” The Washington Times, April 18, 2017], Cheryl K. Chumley made a number of ill-informed, inaccurate and offensive statements about Islam and Muslims.
Before addressing those Islamophobic remarks, let me repeat the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) longstanding repudiation of FGM and other anti-women abuses. As CAIR has stated: "American Muslims join people of conscience of all faiths in condemning female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriages, 'honor killings,' and any other form of domestic violence or gender inequality as violations of Islamic beliefs. If anyone mistreats women, they should not look to Islam to justify their abhorrent, un-Islamic actions."
Now to Chumley’s Islamophobic claims.
Most egregiously, she falsely claimed that, “Islam, at least when it’s practiced. . .is incompatible with our country’s spirit of freedom, Founding Father principles and constitutionally based concepts of equality and justice.”
In fact, justice and equality are core values in Islam. One of the 99 Names of God is “Al-‘Adl - The Just, The Equitable.”
The Quran, Islam’s revealed text, and the words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the best refutation of Chumley’s inaccurate and offensive remarks.
Let’s begin with the Prophet’s restatement of the universal “Golden Rule.” He said: "Whoever wishes to (enter Paradise). . .should treat people as he wishes to be treated by them." Sahih Muslim
The Prophet Muhammad also said:
- “All people are equal as the teeth of a comb.”
- "(Those who dispense) justice will be seated on pulpits of light beside God. . .(They are) those who do justice in their rulings, in matters relating to their families, and in all that they undertake to do." Sahih Muslim
- "For every day on which the sun rises, there is a (reward from God) for the one who establishes justice among people." Sahih Al-Bukhari
- "Anyone who has been a ruler over ten people will be brought shackled on the Day of Resurrection, until the justice (by which he ruled) loosens his chains or tyranny brings him to destruction." Al-Tirmidhi
- "Anyone who God has given authority over people, and does not look after them in an honest manner, will never experience even the scent of Paradise." Sahih Al-Bukhari
- "If you guarantee me six things on your part, I shall guarantee you Paradise. Speak the truth when you talk, keep a promise when you make it, when you are trusted with something fulfill your trust, avoid sexual immorality, lower your gaze (in modesty), and restrain your hands from injustice." Al-Tirmidhi
- The Prophet once told a companion: “You are not better than people (of other races) unless you excel them in piety.” Al-Tirmidhi
- The Prophet famously said in his last sermon: “All humankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Also, a white person has no superiority over a black person, nor does someone who is black have any superiority over someone who is white -- except by piety and good action.”
In the Quran, God states directly:
- “Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” The Holy Quran, 7:199
- “Oh you who believe: Be persistently firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or your parents and relatives.” (Qur’an 4:135).
- “The Word of thy Lord finds its fulfillment in truth and in justice.” The Holy Quran, 6:115
- "All human beings that have done injustice would surely, if they possessed all that is on earth, offer it as ransom (to redeem themselves on Judgment Day)." The Holy Quran, 10:54
- “O humankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you.” The Holy Quran, 49:13
- “Say ye: 'We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.'” The Holy Quran, 2:136
- Islam’s holy text also promotes gender equality when it states: “So their Lord answers their prayers, saying: 'I will never let the (good) work of any of you, whether male or female, be wasted. You are members one of another.’” The Holy Quran, 3:195
These are all principles that every Muslim learns from an early age.
It is unfortunate that Ms. Chumley, instead of taking a few minutes to conduct research about what Muslims actually believe, instead chose to rely on the cottage industry of Muslim-bashers for her distorted representation of Islam and American Muslims.
I have invited her to receive a free Quran through CAIR’s “Explore the Quran” initiative (explorethequran.com) and to visit a local mosque.
Let’s see if she has the capacity to exchange misinformation for the truth.
As God states in the Quran: "Let there arise from among you a community (of people) inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones who will be successful." The Holy Quran, 3:104