Articles of Interest, November 29th, 2007

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GOP CNN YouTube Debate: What an event!

I don’t know what to say…….I missed the debate live, but I stayed up for the re-airing  12 am this morning, I started out sleepy, but 2 am this morning I was full of energy!

I’m actually listening to the debate again in it’s entirety on XM radio’s POTUS 2008 right now as I type.

Read the following very carefully:

FORGET WHAT I HAVE SAID IN THE PAST ABOUT THE GOP CANDIDATES!!!

The candidates really impressed me this morning.  If you have been reading this blog, know me from a message board, know me personally, or listened to my radio show, it’s quite obvious that I’m not a fan of the republican party.

Well I have to admit, these candidates this morning have began to change that.

Overall, the debate was great, the candidates did a good job, and believe it or not, I may actually push the (R) button in November 2008!

I went into this debate thinking I would really despise these candidates and the party more, I left the debate thinking I might actually vote for one of the candidates!

As a black man and a Muslim, this is not to be taken lightly.  I would be on the couch until the election if I shared these thoughts with my wife!:)

Nevertheless, I feel I should share my opinions about the candidates based on my first debate and actually listening to the candidates:

I still don’t like former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, however I have to admit that he looks and sounds more than ready for the job and based on his record, he would probably do a good job.

I believe Governor Mitt Romney did a horrible job and seemed very disingenuous and not ready for the White House, if he gets the nod, I surely would never vote for him.

Representative Tom Tancredo….well he seems more like a prop!  He had some great views, but doesn’t seem “Presidential” and I would never support a candidate that would nuke the holy city I reverence!

Representative Duncan Hunter seemed very genuine but a little too conservative for my taste.

Representative Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul…….well he’s definitely exiting, but like his Democratic counterpart Dennis Kucinich, while many of their views resonate with me and they are very committed to their beliefs, they seem just a little too extreme for my tastes.  If either got the nod, I would probably vote for them on principle, however I would be very cautious because of their extreme elements.

Senator John McCain, I don’t agree with him on many issues, but I still believe that he knows what he is talking about and would be a great asset to this nation.  Last night, he reinforced that as he gave Mitt Romney black eye after black eye.

Former Senator Fred Thompson, truly came off as a leader and would get my vote.

However…..(drumroll) I hope former Governor Mike Huckabee wins it! You heard it right, I would throw my support behind a Baptist Minister! 🙂  Huckabee, was genuine, heartfelt, and very impressive.  Every answer to every question whether I agreed with his position or not, was answered with compassion and it was obvious that he was truly thinking and trying his best to represent the heart and spirit of the American people.

There were some hits, misses, and other “stuff” with the questions.

From the very beginning I thought Romney dropped the ball on his attack on Guiliani and the whole “sanctuary city” argument.  He appeared very hypocritical and I believe Guiliani made perfect sense……at least to me.

Sen McCain, truly shined on torture and the US Military and I almost got off the couch and stood at the position of attention and give him a salute!

Mike Huckabee was hilarious when asked would Jesus (pbuh) run for office and it showed that he can be both serious and personable.

Rep Hunter was on point on immigration and the border fence.

However, I believe that all the candidates dropped the ball on both questions asked as it applies to black people in America:  The first was about black on black crime and the second was on why blacks don’t vote republican.  I believe the candidates missed a real opportunity here.  I believe Huckabee who mentioned that in his state he got 48% of the black vote, that if chosen as the GOP representative, he could get a lot of black votes, probably mine as well.

I also believe that most of the candidates dropped the ball on the lone “Muslim” question.  A sister in Hijab asked “what would they do to improve the US image to Muslims” and instead of reaching out the Muslim community, most of the candidates took the opportunity to address their base and talk very militaristic and borderline stroked the already high Islamaphobic atmosphere that is in this party.  Guiliani did the best on this question in my opinion.  I didn’t expect much out of Romney on this question especially after his comments the other day….

In the end, if Senator Hillary Clinton gets the democratic nod, I believe the only person on that stage last night that could easily defeat her, is Mike Huckabee.  Every other candidate will most likely lose.  If Senator Barack Obama gets the nod I believe Huckabee is the only that can go toe to toe with him as well.  Paul only wins against Kucinich.   Everyone else would have to pray Hillary or Barack fall on their own swords!

I will definitely be taking this discussion up on my show tonight at 10pm ET “The American Muslim” and I would love for my readers to call in.

Lastly, I would like to encourage minorities and those who have never looked at these GOP candidates to give them a try.  I believe in this cycle this party actually has more to offer than the Democrats (yeah even I can’t believe I typed that).  Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are several Presidents in the Democratic candidates, but I believe there are more in the GOP.

If we are truly serious about the future and direction of this country in 341 days we need to break partisan lines one way or the other and choose the best candidate for the country period, I for one at this point can say my vote is fair game I’m not committed to either a (R) or a (D).

Articles of Interest: Muslim Edition Novemeber 28th, 2007

Today I decided to focus on articles of Interest that involve Muslims primarily to curve the idea that Muslims are not positive or are working toward peaceful means today. These are just a few articles, however I would humbly submit that their are many, many, more. Please check the links in my blogroll for other Muslim bloggers that often share such information and if you have some news, please feel free to share them with me at salaam@theamericanmuslim.net.

Articles of Interest, November 27th, 2007

Hajj: A Reflection

Hajj

Hajj begins December 18th Insha’Allah and while I won’t be attending this year, I will surely be there with the Ummah in spirit.

That being said as I was reflecting on the Hajj and the importance there of I began to think over my life and the story of Abraham and Ishmael, may the peace and blessings of God be upon them both and the “controversy” around “the story” of who it was that was actually ordered to be sacrificed.

Growing up as a Christian, I was firmly rooted in the belief that it was Isaac (pbuh) and as a Muslim I’m firmly rooted in the belief that it is Ishmael.

I often ponder about the variances in the beliefs I had as a Christian versus those as a Muslim, and I’m willing to bet, many a convert to Islam occasionally has the same introspection from time to time, no matter how long they have been a Muslim.

The one thing that I always ask myself no matter the topic is “How could I have believed that?” Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a broad swipe at Christianity, but I have to admit there is a reason why I am no longer a Bible thumping, believing, saved, born-again, and filled with the holy ghost Christian 🙂

This has always been a controversial subject as I have never truly been direct in my reasons for leaving Christianity. It has always been a very difficult discussion. It’s one of those taboo subjects in my family. For those that know me personally they know why.

Many who do not know me often allege that I must have been a “confused” or “nominal” Christian, but those who know me, can bear witness that I was completely the opposite. The child of a Pastor, the once son-in-law of a Minister, I taught and lived Christianity so much, that I was on the cusp of becoming a Minister myself (I believe my Grandfather thinks I may one day still pick up the torch).

So leaving has always been a difficult discussion, because my conversion to Islam was not as many may think. I had never met a Muslim prior, no one “converted” me or remotely shared Islam with me. My acceptance was purely textual. I read, studied, and believed.

What many don’t know and I rarely talk about is that Allah (swt) in the Quran presented many clear and definitive arguments against many of my central Christian beliefs. The core of my conversion was that Allah (swt) debated me and won!

At that time, I wasn’t debating any Muslim, I was debating a book. In fact, my only reason for picking up the text at that time, was to debate and point out the “fallacy” of the text. This was my number one “mistake” 🙂 that I later learned. See, when Allah (swt) presented an argument my retort as a Christian had to come from the Bible and herein was the hole in my armor. (onward Christian soldier…get it 🙂 )

One of those gaps I felt like I should share today as I reflect on Hajj, Abraham, and Ishmael (pbut).

For us Muslims, we are taught and it is revealed in the Quran that Abraham and Ishmael built the holy house in Mecca, Masjid-ul Haram and since that isn’t specifically covered in the Bible, it wasn’t a big point of contention (although I did want to know why it wasn’t in the Bible). However, the big one in their story was the issue of the sacrifice. Which we Muslims remember and celebrate at the end of Hajj: Eid ul-Adha which Insha’Allah will be on December 20th this year.

As a Christian there was never any doubt or reason for to doubt that Isaac (pbuh) was the son that was ordered by Allah (swt) to be sacrificed. But after reading the Quran……here was one of those points of contention i.e. debate that I lost.

The Quran says:

37:102 “And one day, when the child had become old enough to share in his father’s endeavors, the latter said: “O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice thee: consider, then, what would be thy view!” Ishmael answered: “O my father! Do as thou art bidden: thou wilt find me, if God so wills, among those who are patient in adversity!”

Now The Bible says:

Genesis 22:2
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

This is an obvious contradiction, but the real question is which is right?

See in matters of faith although it’s harsh to say and people don’t like to say it, things are either right or they are wrong. Things are either true in their claims (especially as it relates to the Word of God) or they are not.

This was an obvious dilemma.

So as I reflect today and studied then, there was/is an obvious problem. When one examines carefully the Biblical narrative they find out some “interesting” facts.

1: Ishmael was about 13 or 14 years old when Isaac was born.

2: He was present when Isaac was born.

These two facts contradict the Biblical narrative concerning the two in many ways. It’s almost like pandora’s box. You go looking to debate the sacrifice claim and more stuff keeps on coming.

After reading and rereading the Bible, one has to wonder, how can Isaac be Abraham’s “only son” when he had a 13/14 year old older brother? Genesis 22:2

Now Christian apologists will argue that at this time since Ishmael and Hagar were gone, “technically” Isaac was the only child according to the covenant…… But if this is the case, why would God leave so much ambiguity and leave it up to our imagination and doctrine to come up with these conclusions? Why would God say “only” knowing that Isaac was second born?

Furthermore, on another topic, on the issue of being sent away, without going through the tedious debate of whether or not Hagar was a slave, concubine, wife, etc. or the reason surrounding the “expulsion”, one has to wonder why the Bible says that Hagar laid Ishmael down under the bushes were he was crying like a baby or small child, when the Bible in the same chapter reminds us that he is actually 13/14? Is God confused here? Or was it normal for parents to lay their teenagers down under bushes when they cried? Genesis 21:14-16

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but there are many holes in this story from the Biblical side. The Quranic side is clearer and more concise and given the background history of the compilation and handling of the two, it’s quite obvious why I chose the Quranic narrative and accepted it as the truth…on this occasion.

Also I wanted to note that in Genesis 21:21 The desert of Paran is mentioned…. not to go off on another tangent, but many scholars believe that Paran is the ancient name of Mecca…. I find that “interesting” because it would appear that the Bible is saying that Ishmael grew up and lived in Mecca, but obviously wasn’t too distant from his brother and father and they obviously kept in touch since Ishmael and Isaac did bury their father together….. Genesis 25:9

The entire point of this rant in context is that as one who accepted Islam 6 plus years ago, even today as I reflect on many Islamic ideas, I can’t help but wonder how did I believe a lot of the things I did in the past. More important than that is that I’m never bored or tire from hearing the story and reasons behind the Hajj.

Peace

RS

Articles of Interest, November 26th, 2007