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franklin county times

They're not the same

By By Craig Ziemba / guest columnist
July 14, 2002
Craig Ziemba is a pilot who lives in Meridian.
When an Islamic extremist shot up a few people people at the El Al ticket counter in Los Angeles last week, it was quickly reported by the press that it was not a terrorist attack.
I heard some nervous politicians and newsmen repeat the claim that, "Islam is a peaceful religion, and Allah is just a different name for God." Question this premise and you commit the unpardonable sin of failure to appreciate diversity. There is a cataclysmic difference, though, between Eastern and Western civilizations, and it is caused largely by a huge difference in our religions.
The formulation of the Western mind began in secular Greece where philosophers like Socrates and Plato began an honest search for truth and advocated rule by law. The conquering Romans fell in love with Greek philosophy and spread it throughout their empire.
A few centuries later Christianity turned the Western world upside down with the teaching that God so loved the world He sent His Son to redeem it. The radical idea that God would come to earth not as a Caesar but as a carpenter had profound implications on the worth and rights of the common man.
Over the next several centuries, these revolutionary seeds mixed with Greek philosophy and grew into democracy and the rule by consent of the governed that we enjoy in America today.
The civilizations of North Africa and the Middle East (except Israel), on the other hand, trace their roots back to the founding of Islam in the 7th century. The word Islam means "submission" to God, ostensibly by obeying the teachings of Mohammed and the caliphs and imans who would succeed him.
The first pillar of Islam is that "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." Mohammed taught that Jesus was not the Son of God, but merely a prophet, thus nullifying the entire message of the New Testament. Christianity and Islam contradict each other and, therefore, cannot both be true.
Examine the progression of Eastern and Western cultures through history and it's clear that neither has been perfect. At some point both have engaged in slavery and the violent conversion of the other side to their religion. Both have been ruled by absolute monarchs and have trampled the rights of women and the underclass.
The stark difference, however, is that we in the West have steadily, albeit slowly, progressed toward greater freedom and recognition of the rights of the individual while Islamic nations have done just the opposite. There isn't a single Islamic country today that practices democracy.
Women in many Moslem countries are treated like property and may be killed by male family members if suspected of adultery. Moslem tribes in Sudan still practice human slavery. While freedom led the West to unprecedented prosperity, the per capita income of the Arab world is less than $2,000 a year (that's including the billionaires in the royal families).
Which culture would you rather have, theirs or ours? It's not politically correct to ask honest questions anymore, but isn't it time we pulled our heads out of the sand?
One of the first principles of warfare is to know your enemy. The terrorists who attacked us last year and who continue to attempt to kill our people are militant Moslems. They hate our freedom, our religion, our prosperity, and our power, and by the way, their populations are mushrooming throughout the Third World while our populations in the West are declining.
Not all Moslems are militants. There are different factions within Islam just like there are within Christianity. Those with a non-violent interpretation of the Koran are no threat to our country and our way of life and have a right to worship the god of their choice.
But let's be honest and admit that Islam and Christianity are not essentially the same, and let's recognize that the greatest threat in our lifetime comes from militant Islamic terrorist attacks like the one last week in Los Angeles.