How incoherent is today’s dominant discourse about the jihad threat? Here is an illustration.
I reported here about the controversy at Rollins College, where Professor Areej Zufari taught “that the crucifixion of Jesus was a hoax and that his disciples did not believe he was God.”
That’s all that we get about what Professor Zufari said in the Central Florida Post story that both the Clarion Project (below) and I referenced. Both assertions are straight from the Qur’an. It says that Jesus was not crucified: “And their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but it appeared so to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.” (Qur’an 4:157)
It also has Jesus denying before Allah that he told people that he was God, thus indicating that his disciples, who were faithful Muslims (Qur’an 3:52, 5:111) would not have believed that he was God: “And when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, “Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?”‘ He will say, ‘Exalted are you! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, you would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within yourself. Indeed, it is you who are knower of the unseen.’” (Qur’an 5:116)
So Areej Zufari was simply restating Qur’anic belief about Jesus. For challenging her, student Marshall Polston was suspended and a police report was filed. As far as the Clarion Project, is concerned, Polston was suspended for challenging “radical Islam.” Clarion has to put it this way because it is an exponent of the mainstream conservative/Republican establishment (George W. Bush, etc.) view that Islam itself is wholly and entirely benign, and every problematic action by Muslims, from jihad terror to Sharia oppression, must be described as a manifestation of “radical Islam” (which is at least a trifle more realistic than the Left’s “violent extremism”).
However, the Islam/radical Islam distinction all too easily entangles in absurdity those who wish to exonerate Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings, and this is an example. From the Central Florida Post report that Clarion picks up on, all Areej Zufari did was repeat Qur’anic teaching. According to Clarion’s official line, doing this ought to be an entirely benign, and indeed beneficial exercise. But in this case it sparked a controversy, and so Zufari’s Qur’an-invoking becomes “radical Islam.” Is the Qur’an, then, radical Islam? Of course Clarion officials would say no, it isn’t, it’s the beautiful holy book of the peaceful religion that has unfortunately been hijacked by radical extremists. But if that is so, then how is what Zufari said “radical”?
These issues cry out for clarification, and I would be happy to engage any Clarion Project official in public discussion or debate of them. Too often, however, they are covered over by name-calling (I’ve been called a “jihadist” for pointing out how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims) and sloganeering and left at that. The victims of jihad terror deserve better.
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