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Koran passage about killing Jews trips up another imam...

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      http://www.cleveland.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/opinion/119381964674330.xml&coll=2&thispage=2

      Koran passage about killing Jews trips up another imam - Kevin O'Brien Wednesday, October 31, 2007
      Kevin O'Brien

      Plain Dealer Columnist

      For now, at least, let's take Imam Ahmed Alzaree at his word. Let's say he's not coming to lead the Islamic Center of Cleveland because some bloggers got in his face.
      Let's say that an allegation he has denied was all it took to keep him away: that Alzaree, while he was the leader of the Islamic Center of Omaha, arranged a speaking engagement for a fellow Muslim cleric with a soft spot for suicide bombers. (Alzaree says others issued the invitation.)
      Let's also take the word of the leaders of the Cleveland-area mosque, which stands in Parma, that they investigated Alzaree's background and found him to be a man committed to promoting understanding among people of different faiths.
      Let's say Alzaree was in earnest when he told a Plain Dealer reporter that when he used a quotation from the Koran about Muslims killing Jews in the run-up to Judgment Day, he was just trying to illustrate the need for Muslims to "strive and struggle in the world doing the good."
      Let's accept his explanation, which appeared as part of an extensive item on a Plain Dealer blog, that when he gave that sermon in 2003, he was just tossing out a bunch of Judgment Day signs for the faithful to chew on - the sun rising in the west, the appearance of an animal "speaking to people," eclipses, Muslims killing Jews. Hey, they're all in the book.
      Let's say he's telling the truth when he says he didn't really mean anything by the part about Muslims killing Jews.
      He quoted this passage of the Koran: "The hour of judgment shall not happen until the Muslims fight the Jews" (emphasis added) - an admonition that seems to give Muslims a role in getting the ball rolling. But let's give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, too: even though he went on to say that the big day seems close at hand, maybe he didn't think the passage meant fighting and killing Jews here and Jews now.
      Now, having resolved every possible point of unclarity in his favor, all that we're left with is a man suffering from guilt by association.
      He's being tarred with the same brush as his co-religionists who are engaged in a loud and bloody worldwide campaign to further the goals of a radical strain of Islam.
      He apparently would like us to think he has a problem with that, but rather than take on those who have expressed suspicion about him, he has chosen simply to seek employment elsewhere.
      That's fine; it's his call to make.
      Besides, arguing with bloggers takes on a new and scarier dimension when it also means publicly repudiating car bombers and beheaders who have come to expect at least one's tacit support.
      Clergymen at odds with the prevailing winds of dogma or authority always have a tightrope to walk. Doing so requires not only the courage of one's convictions, but physical courage. Not everyone can do it.
      It was 490 years ago this very day that Martin Luther tacked his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. (You could look it up, right at the top of this page.) Putting all theological questions aside, what Luther did took guts.
      Where is that kind of reformational courage to be found in Islam? Where is the leadership that calls Islamic terrorism by its real name, then condemns it consistently and unambiguously, countenancing no excuses for the perpetrators?
      Who has the guts to hang 95 theses on the door of the mosque that demand peace and co-existence with people of other faiths?
      We may face a long wait.
      What we see instead is tens of thousands of radical-funded schools worldwide, getting young Muslims revved up about the part they are expected to play in moving Judgment Day along.
      However Imam Ahmed Alzaree may feel about that oft-quoted passage in the Koran about killing the Jews, a lot of people take it literally. A lot of people today are living by it and dying by it.
      If he thinks it was just a rhetorical flourish, it would be nice if he'd say so before he walks away. If he thinks it's the truth, he ought to say that, too.
      Otherwise, people do have a way of drawing their own conclusions.
      O'Brien is The Plain Dealer's deputy editorial page director.
      To reach Kevin O'Brien
      kobrien@..., 216-999-4146




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