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Viral Email: "Muslim Belief"

May 13, 2010 2:01 pm ET

The following email has been widely forwarded. Media Matters Action Network has written a response to the text below. Please feel free to copy and paste it and send it to your friends.

Muslim Belief

[note - all mistakes below are original to the text]


Thanks for sending this my way.  If this indeed was true, it would be disturbing and very frightening.  We should not have to worry that our neighbors and coworkers might hurt us because their religion commands them to. 

Luckily, I looked into this a bit more and found that the story seems to be made up.

The person in question, Rick Mathes, is executive director of Mission Gate Prison Ministry and this event took place at a correctional facility in Missouri.  The folks over at reached out to the facility and one of their spokesmen gave an altogether different version of events.  Here is how they reported it:

According to Tim Kniest, Public Information Officer for the Missouri Department of Corrections, the event described was a training for prison volunteers, for which ministers from several faiths were invited to give presentations in order to acquaint prison volunteers with the varied religious beliefs of the inmate population.  The man who gave the presentation about Islam was not a Muslim minister; he was an inmate pressed into service to present a short film on Islam and answer some questions when the prison's Volunteer Coordinator was "unable to find an Imam to speak."

Moreover, reported Mr. Kniest, the prison's Volunteer Coordinator said that "The inmate did a good job," adding, "He was asked a few questions that were beyond his ability to answer.  But he was not asked anything like that question [in the editorial]."

Of course, the fact that this exchange did not occur is not enough proof that the underlying claim is false.  Are Muslims instructed to kill non-Muslims?  Of course not.  In 2007, for example, you'll remember that some of the most prominent Muslim leaders in the world sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders "urging greater understanding between the two faiths."

The letter was signed by prominent Muslim leaders, politicians and academics, including the Grand Muftis of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Russia, Croatia, Kosovo and Syria, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt and the founder of the Ulema Organisation in Iraq.

Are Muslims instructed to wage war against those who are not Muslim?  Not according to some of the most learned Islamic scholars in the world.

These days, attacking Islam and creating suspicion towards Muslims is a very profitable venture.  Many people have become very wealthy by writing books and going on speaking tours impugning Islam and Muslims. 

Some people even claim to be former Muslims to give their words legitimacy.  Take for example Ergun Caner who is president of the theological seminary at Liberty University.  Egrun's claim to fame is that he was born and raised in Turkey, participated in jihad and debated some of the leading Muslim scholars.  As Christianity Today reported, it turns out that Caner actually grew up in Ohio and there is no proof that he has had the debates he professes to have had.  Would you really trust someone like that when he tells you what Muslims are commanded to do?

These days, people will say and do virtually anything to become famous and to amass a following.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of dishonest people who are seeking to bring divisions between us.

Lastly, the e-mail claims that in next 20 years, "there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. To elect the President!"  This too is false.  Check this out:

I hope this information helps.



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