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To inform or inflame?


Gazette staff January 12th, 2011

A full-page ad in The Oklahoman Dec. 29, 2010, was meant to be informative to some, according to its author, but ended up being inflammatory to others.

The ad, titled “What About Islam?” was paid for by the Church of Christ in Elk City, which often purchases similar ads with the series title “Let the Bible Speak” in other newspapers. The ad appearing in The Oklahoman was authored by four pastors from Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas.

The ad states that “the Muslim world talks peace and tolerance but walks war and terror,” and “in point of fact, we would have to say that it is a given that Muslims will eventually try to impose Shariah law in the U.S. That is what they do! Islam is terribly intolerant toward other religions!” The ad also claims that “in spite of the fact that the Muslim world has declared war on America as ‘the great Satan’ well before 9-11, they have the audacity to claim Muslims are for the most part moderate and tolerant of Christianity — as well as other religions. Yet they insist on erecting a mosque near the site of the twin towers to commemorate their great victory over America on 9-11!” The ad also includes this factoid: “The internet states that Allah was a pagan moon god married to a sun goddess with the stars being their offspring.”

And to show that not all holy wars are equal: “Although, historically, Muslim wars or jihads were often against their fellow Muslims, they were physical and carnal. The Crusades (1095-1291) were the effort by European nations to protect their citizens traveling to the Holy Land.”

So that’s what all that “knee-deep in blood” talk regarding the 1099 Siege of Jerusalem was all about.

The Oklahoman ad sparked responses from Muslim and interfaith groups, criticizing both the ad itself and publication.

“We respect the constitutional rights of The Oklahoman, and the freedom of speech, but such ads only promote racism and bigotry within our communities,” Saad Mohammed, Islamic Council of Oklahoma board member, wrote in a press release. “The ad … was (a) malicious attempt to break down the bridges of communication and mutual understanding that have been built in our faith communities. The Oklahoman should have higher and more transparent standards with regards to the material it will publish.”

Jeff Hamilton, president of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, praised The Oklahoman’s news coverage of various faiths in its religion section, but questioned the paper’s judgment in allowing such an ad to run.

“The advertisement purported to be a ‘study of the Bible and Islam.’ However, the Board of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation of Oklahoma finds that the study was intended not to inform but to inflame. We wish to repudiate the spirit of the advertisement,” Hamilton said.

“Furthermore, we question the judgment of the leadership of The Oklahoman for being willing to (publish) this material without a careful consideration of the contents. Yes, there is free speech, but there is also a need for responsible speech.”

Dale Royal, who is a preacher at the Church of Christ in Elk City and one of the authors of the ad, stood by the piece. Royal said the goal of the ad was to inform people about Islam that they might not hear in the mainstream media.

“We were interested in letting the New Testament speak on the fact that Muhammad is not a prophet of the God of the Bible,” Royal said. “We were trying to make people aware the Muslim religion is a religion of the sword, not a spiritual sword like Christianity, but a physical sword of conquest.”

Reading through the ad, one particular passage concerned CFN’s intern, Bucky.

“This contemporary jihad or war by Al-Qaeda (under Osama bin Laden) is global in nature,” according to the ad. “It has no standing army or territory. It is gorilla war on an international scale.”

Does this warn of an impending intersimian conflict on the horizon? In a move befitting Cobra Commander, will some of our closest evolutionary relatives rise up and do his bidding?

There are no mentions of laser weapons attached to the gorillas’ heads, although we can only assume such a nightmare scenario might include them.

 
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