Muslims have a history of tolerance toward other faiths
Written by KHALID SAJJAD
On May 27, Bill Stephens published a letter in The Star Press in which he claimed, “Muslims want Shariah law, that has death as a penalty for not converting to Islam, and permits honor killings, stoning to death if guilty of adultery, or cutting off hands if guilty of theft, and treating women like slaves. …”
Thanks to the major news outlets, like Fox News, and their biased reporting, they help the likes of Mr. Stephens in fueling intolerance and hatred toward the Islamic faith.
Moreover, the mainstream political parties, like the GOP, have found that attacking Muslims and other minorities has become a way of gaining electoral popularity. They have confused insulting the religious beliefs of others with the concept of freedom of speech, by making false allegations against Islam and by portraying Islam as a violent and backward religion.
It is these same people who, rather than responding to Muslims with debate, have called for the banning and burning of the Shariah and Quran respectively. Are they not the ones who are intolerant?
Muslims have a glorious history of tolerance under the Islamic caliphate system of governance. For centuries, Jews, Christians and others lived side by side with Muslims and they did not have to endure insults on their beliefs. During the caliphate system of governance, Judeo-Christian laws were implemented for the Jews and Christians respectively. Jews and the Christians held high positions in the government to represent their people, so that no injustice may be done against them. In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mount Sinai:
“This is a message written by Muhammad the son of Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, far and near, we are behind them. Verily, I defend them by myself, the servants, the helpers, and my followers, because Christians are my citizens and by Allah (God)! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be changed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant, and disobey his Prophet. Verily, they are only allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, this is not to take place without her own wish. She is not to be prevented from going to her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nations is to disobey this covenant till the Day of Judgment and the end of the World.”
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