But They Believe They Are Going To Heaven

The true reality that Muslims who speak out about terrorism face: We talk, but no one listens. We speak, but what we say does not get "airtime."

by Deedra Abboud in Muslim, Political, Social Views
March 22, 2016 0 comments

My husband, who is out of the country on business, called me at 1:40am to tell me about the bombings in Belgium. This has been a consistent part of my life – not the bombing but my husband or the media calling me at all hours to tell me or ask me about some major or horrific event involving Muslims in the world.

The people who bombed Belgium could use a refresher course on humanity and being human. If they claim to be Muslim, they could use a refresher course on Islam. Make no mistake, there are no words they can use to justify their actions that will overcome their harsh judgment to eternal hell and punishment on The Day of Judgment.

As I laid in bed wondering how people who call themselves Muslims could possibly believe what they are doing is in-line with God’s teaching and that they would actually be rewarded for it, I remembered a conversation I had with one of my sisters years ago.

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

I had already become Muslim, she was not Muslim (nor is she now), but religion was not the issue. It was about God.

My sister was struggling with the idea of God. Not about whether he exists, but whether she liked him.

She had the age-old complaint of why would a loving God, a God with ultimate power, allow bad things to happen.

But that was not really the problem.

The problem was our dad.

Our dad was a wife beater. Our dad was a cheater. Our dad abandoned us when we were children.

Our dad was also Southern Baptist. Not Fundamentalist Southern Baptist, and there is a difference, but Southern Baptist. He was not particularly religious (he attended church on Easter Sunday and some other times), but he believed as a Christian, Jesus had died for his sins and he was automatically going to heaven as a result.

My sister was upset that, despite everything our dad had done to us and our mother, God would allow him to go to heaven. She saw this as unfair, unjust.

She actually said, “If God will allow Daddy to go to heaven, I do not want to go to heaven.”

I responded that no one knows who is going to heaven. I responded that God had given us rules to follow to make us better people and that God was just, so we would each be justly accountable on The Day of Judgment for our actions.

She was insistent that Daddy was going to heaven.

I told her heaven is not promised to anyone.

She responded, “But he believes he is going to heaven.”

I responded that a person can believe it all they want, that does not make it true. God is the ultimate decider. God has been very clear about what will cause a person to be judged harshly, even if some are a little confused about what will actually get them to heaven.

And there is the problem.

My sister was stuck on the fact that my father was absolutely sure, at least verbally (who knows what inner doubts and demons we have in our own minds), that he was going to heaven – and somehow my sister took his belief as true. She believed his truth despite evidence readily available to her to counter his absolute belief.

That is what is going on today.

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, spread out all over the world. Some Muslim men beat their wives. Some Muslim men oppress women. Some Muslim men cheat. And a lot of Muslims know very little about Islam beyond very general concepts.

Muslims are not alone in this. The same statements could be made about every single religion in the world, including Christianity.

Case in point, our father considered himself a “good” Southern Baptist Christian, as did his family and members of the community. Not even in the face of my black, blue and broken mother did their opinions change. Yet he broke several of the most basic rules of Christianity – The Ten Commandments.

There are bad people in the world. Some want to be bad. Some are taught to be bad. And some are just bullies that have seen their bullying behavior benefits them because they have experienced little, if any, negative consequences.

But this is true of all people. No ethnic or religious group is exempt. No ethnic or religious group is more represented as bad or good overall when considering all people over all time. But some may be worse than others at particular times.

If Islam taught what terrorists promote and act upon, at least half of 1.6 billion Muslims would be doing the same things – 800 million Muslims would be bombing and killing people. That is just statistics.

But that is also not the case.

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh Are More Of A Threat To Muslims Than Anyone Else

That is the reality.

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, AlQaida, and all the other terrorist groups who call themselves Muslims are not concerned with whether Muslims are among the casualties (and Muslims have been among the casualties in both Paris and other attacks). These groups also target and murder Muslims who do not agree with the terrorist groups.

But that’s not all.

Every time one of the terrorist groups conduct a bombing or other violent activity, Muslims living in the west become targets of hate crimes and discrimination, the ultimate backlash.

Never mind the people in Iraq and Syria who are just living their lives, and trying to survive ISIS/ISIL/Daesh destruction, but are unfortunate enough to live too close to International bombings targeting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Muslims just can’t win. The terrorists make sure of it.

Just Throw Them Out!

After 9/11, I was invited by a local Mormon student group at Arizona State University to discuss the terrorist attacks and how they did not represent Islam.

When it came to the question and answer session, a student asked me why we did not just excommunicate Osama Bin Laden.

I responded that Islam does not have an excommunication process. Islam does not have a hierarchy, despite how the media attempts to claim otherwise. No one has the authority to decide who is Muslim and who is not. If you say you are Muslim, you are Muslim. What Muslims can, and do, do is say the actions of a person claiming to be Muslim are not in accordance with Islam.

Besides, what difference does it make if I, or anyone, were to say Osama Bin Laden was not Muslim and not a part of the Muslim faith? Isn’t it my word against his? And does my opinion mean “jack sh*t” to him?

Because I assure you, someone saying I am not Muslim, or not American for that matter, doesn’t mean “jack sh*t” to me.

Just Do Your Job!

Neither can I, nor anyone else, control the actions of others. It is beyond unrealistic that I can travel to the border of Iraq and Syria to talk some sense into these idiots – as much as I wish I could. It is not conceivable that I can know what is in anyone’s mind locally either.

A few years ago I was on a panel for the Supreme Court of Arizona to discuss terrorism. It was a live event with attendees in the audience and employees remotely joined all over Arizona. There were several of us on the panel, including an FBI agent, but I was the only Muslim.

The moderator sat beside me and was flipping through the submitted questions, deciding which ones to ask the panelists. I saw a question and told the moderator I would really like to answer it.

The question was, “Why don’t you just turn in the terrorists in your community?”

The moderator asked me what I would reply.

I said I do not turn in the terrorist for the same reason I do not turn in the child molesters. I do not know who they are. They hide their activities on purpose, and do it very well. Their very survival depends on their secrecy.

The question assumed many things.

First, that all Muslims intimately know each other. That we know what is in the hearts and minds of each other – better than close family members who have no idea one of them is a child molester.

Second, that terrorist are sharing their terrorist ideas with people they know. The only people terrorists, like child molesters, share their dirty little secret with are other people they are positively sure are of the same mind.

Third, that Muslims do know who the terrorists are but have made a conscious decision not to turn them in. That is so far from the case, I do not even know how to address it. No one assumes anyone is a child molester and only, if ever, recognize the “signs” after the child molester is caught. Muslims do not assume people we know could possibly be terrorists either, or even susceptible to the concept.

The most interesting part of the experience, though, was that the moderator gave me a few more questions but chose not to publicly ask me that question so that I could publicly answer it.

And that is the true reality that Muslims who speak out about terrorism face. We talk, but no one listens. We speak, but what we say does not get “airtime.”

We need to start working together to stop the terrorist attacks.

Generalized “evil” labels and collective blame will never solve the problem. Terrorism is a problem. It is our problem. All of our problem –

Terrorism is a problem. It is our problem. All of our problem – including Muslims, not because of them.

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