Saturday, February 17, 2007

Was Islam involved in the Utah shootings?

As authorities, the media, and family members search for a reason for the brutal murders at a mall on Monday, Robert Spencer points out a fact I haven’t heard covered anywhere else. Sulejmen Talovic killed five people and wounded four in a Salt Lake City mall before police shot and killed him. The new piece of information is that Sulejmen was also a Bosnian Muslim.

We may never know what caused Sulejmen to do what he did. However, if we can understand what led to it, maybe we can prevent it from happening again. Does it matter that he was Muslim? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. However, Robert Spencer reminds us of a few things that have happened recently in the United States:

Ismail Yassin Mohamed stole a car in Minneapolis and, after he rammed the car into other cars, he stole a van and continued to hit random cars. Reportedly he said, “Allah made me do it.”

Ommed Aziz Popal killed one and injured fourteen during a drive through San Francisco in August of 2006. He targeted people in crosswalks and sidewalks. He initially identified himself as a terrorist.

Naveed Afzal Haq killed one and injured five more in July of 2006 at a Jewish Center in Seattle. Before he started shooting people, he said, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel.”

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV onto the University of North Carolina campus trying to kill people but instead injured nine. At a court appearance he said he was, “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.”

From what I have seen, the authorities are not labeling these as terrorist incidents. However, all five incidents involved Muslims killing or trying to kill people here in the United States. In some of the cases, these people even invoked Allah. Does it matter that these people were Muslim or is it a freak coincidence? The authorities should be looking into the Muslim connection. What was being taught at the Mosque where these individuals were attending before they started their rampages? These incidents alone don’t mean that Islam is involved, but we would be foolish to dismiss the connection out of some sort of political correctness fear.


familyman said...

Hey Andy, it's me again.

Here we go.

Steven Bixby and his father Arthur - Abbeville South Carolina - Dec. 2003 - Killed a Sheriff's Sgt and a State Constable and said they were carrying out God’s will.

Philip Badowski - A college student who confessed to shooting his parents and then breaking a chain saw trying to cut up their bodies said, "God told me to" December 13, 2004

Deanna Laney believed God ordered her to kill her children on Mother’s Day weekend. March 31 2004

Hans Missal, 51 of Orlando was sentenced to 90 years in prison for attempting to set his Orlando home on fire with his family sleeping inside. He said God commanded him to sacrifice his wife and children. Missal compared himself to the Bible's Abraham, who was commanded by God to sacrifice his own son, and said he received a message from God to kill his entire family. April 2006

Robert Siemon said God told him to kill his son so he shot his child in the head with .22-calibre rifle.

I could go on and on with examples.

So, should the authorities be looking into the Christian connection? Or should we be wondering what these people were taught in church?

When someone says God told them to kill, we immediately chalk them up as insane. Or in the case of George Bush we re-elect them.(sorry I couldn't help myself)

But if someone goes over the mental edge and blames it on Allah then there must be something wrong with their church.

Andy D said...

The very important difference is that there are no legitimate churches here in the United States teaching anything like this. The reason we chalk it up to insane is that no one truly believes that a sane individual could do anything like the above examples and then proclaim that Jesus or God told him too.

Unfortunately, that is not the case with Islam. There are individuals committing crimes in the name of Allah in the United States. There are death squads in Iraq, “gangs” in France, and other cells and individuals killing and attacking others in the name of Allah throughout the rest of the world. If the Washington Post ran a cartoon depicting Jesus or God tomorrow what would happen? A few people might talk about it around the water cooler, but that would be it. If the Washington Post ran a cartoon depicting Mohammad the next day, what would happen?

There are different values taught in Islam in today’s world. Until Muslims within the faith decide they won’t allow that anymore, I think you will continue to see this violence in the name of Islam.

familyman said...

OK, you got me on this one.

But the Bush Joke was good, right?

Andy D said...

I think the joke is probably lost on me. I do appreciate your honesty on the debate though. I have a book review I am going to post in the next few days that deals with some of this same stuff. You should check the book out. It is called Because They Hate by Brigitte Gabriel. I hope to post a review this week.

Matthew Smith said...

I am far from a Islam scholar, but I believe that - in your words - no "legitimate" teacher of that religion teaches the hate prepetuated by Muslim terrorists.

Again, I'm no expert and can't provide documentation, but I think that the lines most often quoted by Al Queda don't appear in the Koran (Quran? Did we ever learn the right way to spell it?) at all; they appear in one of the apocrypha. While the Koran does, in fact, condone its fair share of violence, it does so no more than the Old and New Testaments (slavery is OK, adulterers should be stoned, etc.).

An overwhelming majority of the Muslim world does not support the ideals behind Islama-terrorism. Unfortunately, every day more and more Muslims (and Christians, Jews, Wiccans and flying speghetti monster-worshipers) relate to this horrible segment of humanity a little more.

Andy D said...

Matthew, I pray that you are right and I am wrong. However, the more and more I read about Islam, the more I think I am right. Even reading books that claim to present the Muslim viewpoint, I am struck by how violent many of the commonly held interpretations are.

Most of the quotes I have seen come directly from the Qur’an. Here are a few examples:

“Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and see them, belittle them and lie and wait for them in every strategy of war.” Sura 9, verse 5

“Their punishment is execution or crucifixion or cutting off of the hands and feet from the opposite sides or to be exiled from the land.” Sura 5, verse 33

“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” Sura 9:5 (Known as the Verse of the Sword)

The Qur’an relies on the Doctrine of the Abrogator. This states that if there are two verses (or Sura’s) in the Qur’an, whichever came later in the life of Mohammad, replaces the earlier verses. There are 124 verses that are replaced by the Verse of the Sword according to this doctrine.

These Sura’s are not apocrypha, they are main stream Isalm. I have included the Sura’s so you can check up and verify what I am telling you.

If you are correct, that the “overwhelming majority of the Muslim world does not support the ideals behind Islama-terrorism,” then that overwhelming majority is remaining far too quiet. There are a surprising number of polls in the US, Britain, and the Middle East that just don’t agree with your assertion.

Epiphany11 said...


I haven't commented on this particular post because I feel ill equiped to contribute anything useful to the discussion. My knowledge of Islam is minimal at best. I would, however, like to say that it has been fascinating to follow the dialogue.


Andy D said...

Thanks for the compliment Stephanie. My goal with this site is to get ideas out in the open for people to debate. I respect Familyman and Matthew both, I just disagree with them.

Matthew Smith said...

Andy, just as familyman did in his first post, I think you can easily scroll through the Old and New Testaments to find equally horrific passages. Please - I beg you - devote equal time to your religious scholarship. I don't think Christianity or Jewdiasm are violent religions, but not even the pope himself (not your favorite guy, I realize) could debate that some of his predecessors used the office for hateful, spiteful and morally repulsive acts.

Andy D said...

Perhaps a little clarification:

I have devoted an equal amount of time. I am a Christian and am well aware of the early laws in the Bible. Many of them call for some pretty brutal punishments. There is a fundamental difference in what is contained in the Bible and what is contained in the Qur’an. Christianity today does not believe in the punishments discussed in the Old Testament. There are no legitimate preachers or pastors that would instruct you to stone an adulterer. In fact, when presented with this problem, Jesus tells the Jews whoever is without sin to throw the first rock. This is an instruction to forgive the sins of others. As you read through the Bible, the New Testament refutes the earlier, harsher Old Testament.

The Qur’an is the exact opposite. As Mohammad got older, he became more war like and instructed his followers to bloodier deeds. In the Qur’an, if two sections contradict each other, then the one that occurred the latest in Mohammad’s life takes over and refutes the earlier Sura. In the example I quote earlier, the Verse of the Sword refutes 124 earlier, more peaceful verses. This is not some sort of radical interpretation. This is the way modern day Muslims interpret Islam.

I don't disagree that the Bible has some bloody passages. The difference is, we as Christians refute the bloodier stuff while Muslims celebrate the extreme passages.

Anonymous said...

Interesting conversation. I would like to point out something that gets overlooked when the subject of violence and Islam come up. There are several nations around the world that are run by Muslim governments. These governments follow the Koran closely. Most outside observers don't call them extermist or anything like that. They simply refer to them as a Muslim government. Yet, these governments still persecute other religions. These governments still kill their own people when the convert from Islam to another religion. Everyone knows this goes on in countries like Afghanastan and the like, but check out other countries around the world. You may just be surprised.

So if it is only extermist that are violent, why are these governments acting this way? Why are they not labled extermist?