I was well aware of the positions concerning Islam and Muslims presented by each of the three speakers at the April 16th “Three Ex-Terrorists” event. As a member of the Muslim community of Stanford, I noticed many a Muslim student troubled by the ideology of the speakers in the days leading up to the event. Some wanted to respectfully protest, a course of action we eventually decided against. I attended the event fully expecting my religion to be reviled, as it was. However, I left pleasantly surprised and confident that the Stanford community would see through the speakers’ black and white claims.

Actually, I had a hard time suppressing my laughter when Zaki Anani was describing his exemplary Muslim upbringing, one in which he would fail to pray but faithfully kept hold of the core Islamic belief of fighting the infidel. Maybe I had fooled myself into thinking that prayer, five times a day, was a pillar of Islam.

The next time I bike over to the campus mosque at 6:00 a.m. for daily morning prayers, I’ll be sure to ask my friend, “What are we doing here, not sleeping? Didn’t you know we were more obligated to fight? Stop wasting your time with Darfur activism or advocacy for the homeless.”

He’d look at me puzzled, so I’d bring out my Qur’an pointing out the verse – “And slay them where you find them” (2.191). But he’d ask me to read the very verse preceding it, “Fight in the way of God those who fight you and do not commit aggression – God loves not aggressors” (2.190). Are we then talking about defensive war?

I was continually mystified by one of the speaker’s knowledge of the Qur’an and the tradition of the prophet Mohammad. I’d guess I’d have to buy one of the speakers’ books to actually learn why I want to kill you.

Despite the pain felt by many Muslim students who had attended the event, the Stanford community can stand to benefit greatly from it. The students who attended the event and those who could not are all well educated and keen on independently investigating any claim for its veracity.

If you wonder about the speakers’ claims of yearning to bring the severed heads of infidels before the feet of Allah, ask your Muslim dorm mate how she views Islam’s stance against the anthropomorphization of God. Seek to understand how Muslims interpret the oft-cited verse on wife-beating in light of the Prophet Muhammad’s own admonition of the practice. Seek out individuals or organizations such as the Islamic Society at Stanford University (ISSU) to discuss such interpretations. Ask the University administration for Islamic resources if they are not available. Read the Qur’an and form your own interpretations of how to balance verses of peace with verses of fighting.

Falsehood springs from misunderstandings, such as the suggestion that the feelings of the Muslim questioners were atypical. The interfaith work of the father of one questioner is no surprise in Muslim America. But the speakers were keen to condemn even the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a key civil rights organization and one of many Muslim groups that repeatedly condemn terrorism.

Forget about conservative or “moderate” Muslims. Does anyone who witnessed the event truly think that even liberal Muslims would like to hold hands with Walid Shoebat, Zaki Anani and Kamal Saleem with their open stance against Islam? It is no surprise that only fifty of the “eight million” (possibly distrustful) American Muslims would show up to his rally in Washington DC. Does CAIR’s refusal to attend constitute as clear proof in its sympathy for terrorists? (By the way, check out their great Islamofascist website at


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