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One of the most outspoken critics of Islam around the world these days is a Canadian man, Ali Sina, who is formerly a Muslim himself.  He runs the Faith Freedom International movement.  Ali Sina has some highly controversial positions concerning Islam and American president Barack Obama as well and he has recently come out with a book, Understanding Muhammad, which continues to stir things up.  I found this man to be extremely provacative as well as interesting so I asked him for an interview so that he could share his own insight as to what Islam is at base and what is going on in the world today.  The communication flowed as follows…

Gary Dale Cearley: Could you let us know a little about yourself and your background?

Ali Sina: I was born in a Muslim family.  Today no one in my immediate family is a Muslim and I know that many of my extended family that is still living in Iran, like most Iranians, have either left Islam or are in the process of doing so.  Many Iranians have just ceased to believe in Islam.

Since childhood, injustice harrowed my soul.  I became vegan because cruelty pains me.  Scenes of cruelty affect me profoundly.  They still do, as they did when I was a child.  Many young people react to injustice by becoming revolutionaries.  They choose violent means to combat injustice and hence bring more injustice and violence to the world.  I prayed to become an instrument of peace.  To bring love where there is hate; understanding, where there is confusion;  peace, where there is discord.  That was of course all wishful thinking, when I myself was confused, trapped in a bubble of lies.

I pondered upon injustice and I believed it is caused by greed.  Later I came to understand a lot of evil is committed, not because of greed, but because of belief in evil doctrines.  To quote Blaise Pascal, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

When I read the Quran, the whole meaning of Pascal’s words became apparent.  It was then that I decided the time for prayer is over and now is time for action.  Of course this awakening did not happen overnight.  It took me two years of study, inner fight and soul searching.  I was taken from denial to shock, and then to guilt and to confusion, to depression and to anger and finally to enlightenment, awakening, forgiveness and inner peace.  It was an arduous odyssey, but worth making.

I started writing about my findings on the internet and more enlightened ex-Muslims joined.  Our little trickle became a torrent and now we are a movement, bringing about a silent revolution, not with violence and bombs, but through understanding, through explaining the unexplained and through spreading knowledge.

We have helped thousands of Muslims who were filled with hatred of the non-Muslims to discover the fallacy of Islam and join the rest of humanity in amity.  My childhood prayer has come true.  I have become an instrument of peace and I am not alone.  We are now a legion that has risen to demolish the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge.

Gary Dale Cearley: You have written a book, Understanding Muhammad: A Psychobiography of Allah’s Prophet.  Tell us about it.

Understanding Muhammad by Ali Sina

Understanding Muhammad by Ali Sina

Ali Sina: The book, as its title says, delves into the motives behind the actions of Muhammad.  Muhammad is an enigma.  He did many things that make one believe he was sincere.  He gave the impression that he believed to be a prophet of God, while at the same time he was ruthless, cunning, and evil.  So how can you explain this oxymoron?  Was he a liar?  If so how could he be so convinced?

In my book, Understanding Muhammad, I give a brief account of his biography.  Muhammad’s life story is covered in many books and one can learn it from original sources called Sira.  The concern of my book is the psychology of Muhammad.

Understanding Muhammad does not focus on “what,” but rather on “why.”  Instead of narrating what Muhammad did or say, it explains the mental impulses that led him to act in the way he did.

I have shown that Muhammad suffered from a series of morbidities, mental, and personality disorders that collectively explain the phenomenon known as Islam.  Once you understand the psychological makeup of Muhammad and the milieu in which he operated, you’ll come to see that phenomenon of Islam was inevitable.

The book does exactly what it claims.  It makes the reader understand Muhammad and Islam.  It has received encouraging reviews.  Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self-love wrote, “Understanding Muhammad offers an explanatory scheme.  One “a-ha” moment chases another as things fall into place and a causative chain emerges leading all the way from medieval founder to his current day followers and emulators.” Once you read the book, you’ll not only understand Muhammad, but Muslims too.

This book has been read by many Muslims, who first wrote to me to prove I am mistaken.  I challenged them to read the book and now many of them are my strong allies.  I believe once the insight that this book offers spreads, Islam will become history and with it Islamic terrorism will ceases to exist.

Gary Dale Cearley: As you have become apostate in the eyes of Muslims, I am interested in what kinds of threats have you had from the Muslim community and from where have the threats come?

Ali Sina: When you leave Islam threats come from all directions.  Your apostasy offends every Muslim who will each attack you in their own way.  Some Muslims want to kill you but not every Muslim is a murderer.  Those who do not issue a death threat snub, pity you, vilify you.  I was informed that there are two fatwas to kill me from two mullahs in India.  There was also price put on my head:  One million rupees.  This is only $20,000 dollars.  I was a bit disappointed.  I thought I am worth more, but hey, it is more than 30 silver coins for which Christ was sold.

Gary Dale Cearley: What changes have you undergone within your own family since you renounced Islam?

Ali Sina: Not much really.  My family was not fanatical.  We were among those deluded believers who think Islam means peace and the terrorists have got it all wrong.  It was quite a surprise for me to read the Quran and see that it was we who got it all wrong and the terrorists are just doing what a good Muslims is supposed to do.

The majority of Muslims belong to this category.  They are deluded and think Islam is peaceful.  They condemn the so called extremists.  However, the truth is that the extremists are the ones who understand Islam best and the moderate Muslims don’t.  They believe in a benign form of Islam that is made up by them and has nothing to do with the Islam of Muhammad.

Gary Dale Cearley: Are you open with Muslims about having turned your back on Islam as a religion?

Ali Sina: I am not in contact with them anymore.

Gary Dale Cearley: If you could come face-to-face with Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri, what would you like to tell them?

Ali Sina: I don’t have any message for these beasts.  My message to all Muslims is that Islam is a lie and they should not kill people or sacrifice their own lives for a lie.  Not all Muslims are terrorists, but they all harbor distrust, if not hatred of non-Muslims, to the extent that they practice Islam.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, former vice president of Iran, with Pope Benedict XVI

Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, former vice president of Iran, with Pope Benedict XVI

Islam is a faith that is built on the hatred of the enemy.  Without an enemy Islam loses its raison d’être.  A good example to make is what happened recently in Iran.  Ahmadinijad, the man who stole the elections appointed [Esfandiar Rahim] Mashai, a relative by marriage, as his vice president.  Mashai’s nomination angered the hardliners and Khamanei was forced to humiliate his own handpicked and protégée president and order him to dump Mashai.  Why?  Because last year Mashai said, “Iranians are friends of all people in the world — even Israelis.” He was serving as vice president in charge of tourism and cultural heritage at the time.”

By making this comment, even though he really did not mean it as he is part of the Islamic regime and shares the same hatred of Israel, Mashai had undermined the legitimacy of the Islamic republic that is founded on hatred and needs perpetual enemies to sustain itself.  Not only that, he also undermined the legitimacy of Islam that is founded on hatred of non-Muslims and particularly the Jews.  Islam needs enemies to survive.  The hatred must be kept alive.  Sigmund Freud wrote in Civilization and Its Discontents, “It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness”

Muslims are united, as long as there are non-Muslims to hate.  But once among themselves they will start fighting over who is a true believer and will target their hatred towards those who interpret Islam differently.  As long as Islam is believed to be a religion of God the hatred will continue and the killing and wars will not end.  So, really there is no other option but to expose the fallacy of Islam and wean Muslims from Islam.

This message cannot be heard by hardened terrorists.  This message is for ordinary Muslims who don’t know the truth about Islam who will be shocked to learn it.  This mass of moderate Muslims is the backbone of Islamic jihad.  The Jihadis come from these very ordinary Muslims and are supported by them both morally and financially.  If we can make these Muslims see the truth Islamic terrorism will end.

Islamic terrorism is the fruit of Islam.  It’s the tree that has to be eradicated.  As long as the tree is in place it will continue to produce bitter fruits.

Gary Dale Cearley: How has the non-Muslim community accepted you?

Ali Sina: There is no problem with the non-Muslim community.  Non-Muslims do not have the concept of us vs. them” that is so intrinsic in Islamic psyche.  I live in Canada.  We are a nation of immigrants.  We are all equals and asking someone about his or her religion is considered to be rude.  No one cares what you believe.  In Canada I am just another Canadian.

There are Muslims who feel alienated in Western countries.  That is because they choose not to integrate.  They want to wear their backward Islamic clothing, cover their women in black bed sheets, eat differently, act differently, think differently and denigrate the culture and the country where they live.  It is natural not to be accepted if you are obnoxious.  We have large communities of Hindus and Sikhs in Canada that are fully integrated, and are the backbone of the Canadian economy while Muslims, coming from the same neck of the woods, do not integrate.  It is their fault that they do not integrate.  Western countries are open to all and sundry and people here are not prejudiced.  They are learning to dislike Muslims and who can blame them?

Gary Dale Cearley: What advice do you have for Barack Obama and other leaders of Western nations in dealing with radical Islam?

Ali Sina: My advice to Barack Obama is to pack up and seek refuge in Kenya before Americans discover you are a fraud and a traitor.

This man is on a mission to destroy America.  Polls show Americans are waking up and are realizing the big mistake they have committed.  Obama is in office not because of his merits, but because of the white guilt.  He hated America all his life.  Tell me who are your friends and I will tell you who you are.  Who were the friends of Obama?  Jeremiah Write, Bill Ayer, Louis Farrakhan, Rashid Khalidi, Tony Rezko, and a bunch of other goons!

Who were his mentors when he was growing up?  The pedophile Frank Marshal Davis and the black supremacist Malcolm X!  I do not give advices to the enemies of America.

However, if America had a legitimate president, my advice would be ban Islam and make the practice of Sharia illegal.

During the Cold War America banned communism because communism was a threat to the Constitution of America.  President Truman introduced the Federal Employee Loyalty Program (FELP) in 1947 aimed at combating security risks from working for the Federal Government.  Every person taking on a new job in the civil service or government had to be investigated.

Congress set up the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that investigated Communist involvement in the film industry, education, unions and the government.  A couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage and selling nuclear secrets to the Russians during the WW2 and rightly were executed.  Yes, excesses were also committed.  But it is a mistake to condemn America’s resolve to fight against its internal enemies because of those excesses.

Abdul Qadeer Khan made the "Islamic Bomb" possible...

Abdul Qadeer Khan made the "Islamic Bomb" possible...

Maybe because of those excesses Americans have become guilt ridden to the extent that they have lost the will to defend their country in the face of a real threat.  Remember how Pakistan got its nuclear bomb?  It was because Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Muslim, was allowed to join the staff of the Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory (FDO) in the Netherlands and from there he stole the technology and went back to Pakistan to build the “Islamic bomb.”  Muslims allegiance is only to Islam.  You cannot trust them in sensitive jobs.

Hizb ut Tahrir

Hizb ut Tahrir

This July the Islamic extremist organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir, (Liberation Party) hosted its first organized conference in the United States, titled “Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam.” The conference, attended by 700 people, was hosted in Hilton Hotel in Chicago.  Amazingly Hilton rejected an event featuring Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian that is fighting against Islamic expansion in the Europe.  The goal of Hizb-ut-Tahrir is to overthrow the governments of the world and establish the Khilafat, allegedly through non violent means.  This group is banned in most Islamic countries, but it is allowed to operate in the USA and to openly promote the abolition of the American Constitution.

These people are right here in America and are given full immunity to plot the destruction of America.  If there was a patriotic president in office, I would have told him to ban all Islamic groups that work against America and its constitution.  But we don’t have a patriotic president.  We have a racist man who hated America all his life and is doing everything he can to weaken its Judeo-Christian base and open the floodgate to Muslims.  His bow and genuflection to the Saudi King, the head of the Wahhabi school of Islam should tell us everything about where Obama’s loyalty lies.

Obama Bowing to Saudi King

Barack Obama Bowing to Saudi King

Anyone with commonsense knows that Islam is in war with America.  What does Obama do?  He appoints two devout Muslims to Homeland Security Posts.

Arif Alikhan, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security

Arif Alikhan, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security

Arif Alikhan is a devout Sunni Muslim.  As assistant secretary for the Office of Policy Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Alikhan was instrumental in taking down the LA Police Department’s plan to monitor its Muslim community.  He is affiliated with MPAC, the “Muslim Public Affairs Council”.  This is like putting the thief to guard the money.  Americans must prepare themselves for more terrorist attacks and the responsible is no one but Obama and of course every one of those people who voted for this traitor.

Now, I don’t blame Obama.  He is doing what he had dreamt to do since his youth and that is to destroy America.  My wonder is at Americans who have handed their country to a buffoon enemy.  Obama is not an intellectual.  He is stupid. Obama lied and he deceived the masses of the gullible people.  That is where narcissists excel.  They are charming and convincing liars.  We all commit mistakes.  But why now that the truth has come out and it is clear that this impostor is working against America he is not sacked?  Obama is not a legitimate president.  Don’t let the biased media fool you any more.  Facts are out there for those who care to study them.  Obama should be brought to justice, tried and preferably electrocuted for high treason.

Anyway, back to your question: America has to confront Islam, recognize it as a hostile ideology and educate the public of the threat that it poses.

Gary Dale Cearley: Lots of people, from the man on the street to sociologists to politicians, have expressed concern regarding the growth of Muslim immigration to the West.  Should they be concerned and if so what concerns should they have?

Omar Ahmad of CAIR

Omar Ahmad of CAIR

Ali Sina: Yes, they should be concerned.  Muslims are not like other immigrants.  They do not want to integrate in your melting pot, but to conquer the country through demographic and warfare.  Let us hearken to Omar Ahmad, Co-Founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who said

Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant.  The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth…”

“Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam, that is not suicide,  …They kill themselves for Islam.”

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kurt-kuersteiner1

Kurt Kuersteiner

I have gotten to know Kurt Kuersteiner a bit over the past few years.  I first met him when I was interviewing him for my first published book Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness: The Truth about the Vatican and the Birth of Islam. Kurt is a very interesting character if you ask me and he is well known in the “Jack Chick” circles.  Kurt is the author of an exceptionally well done anthology of Chick Publication works The Unofficial Guide to the Art of Jack T. Chick: Chick Tracts, Crusader Comics, And Battle Cry Newspapers and he directed the documentary God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick, which I found engrossing.  I have copies of both the book and the film.  Kurt is an adjunct Communications professor in Tallahassee Florida, where he also publishes entertainment trading cards for Monsterwax.

gods-cartoonist6Kurt and I approach Jack Chick in very different ways. Personally I don’t care what he puts in his tracts about sin in and of itself – it is when Chick tries to glaze over historical fact to promote his own point of view that I get bent out of shape with him. Kurt, on this other hand, sees Jack Chick as a cultural phenomenon that deserves respect for his work and his accomplishments. Or at least this is my understanding of Kurt’s point of view. You can see for yourself what he has to say.

What is it that you like most about the Chick Publication tracts and what got you to research your book?


the-art-of-jack-chick3 It is inspiring to me to see a writer try to get his message to the masses, and without the help of any corporations or political party or even organized church, he is able out-publish everyone else! What is especially interesting is that his message is so politically incorrect, and if anything, the corporations, political parties, and (the majority of) organized churches have tried to marginalize him. Yet there is his, an underground cartoonist with his vision, who engineered a crusade that catapulted his work around the world and made him the most published author alive today. Chick has printed over 800 million tracts and is still going strong. That is a testament to creativity, determination, faith in the product, and the American dream. It proves that unconnected individuals can still succeed in this country if they work long enough and hard enough.

Personally, which do you like better, the Jack Chick style or the Fred Carter style?


carter-the-letter1 I especially love Fred Carter’s art. It’s beautiful. He’s one of the best comic artists around and he’s very versatile. Too bad he’s ignored by both ends of the comic book business because the corporate side can’t hire or exploit his talents, and most of the customer side thinks he’s a square since he’s a fundamentalist. Even if most people disagree with his beliefs, they should still recognize his artistic talent and respect his willingness to give up so much in order to promote his faith. Interestingly enough, most my artist friends prefer Chick’s art, because his style is so distinctive and retro. Together, the two artists make quite a team!

Do you think that it is possible to be a fan of Jack Chick and disagree with what he is trying to get across? Is it possible, for instance, to be a secular art collector who appreciates the work but remains untouched or unchanged by the message?

To the first part of your question, the answer is definitely “yes”. I know all sorts of gays, Catholics, Jews, Rock and Roll fans, Witches and even self proclaimed Satanists who love collecting Chick’s tracts. Some feel it’s a guilty pleasure and others rationalize that his conspiracy theories are so extreme, that they only encourage the opposite view. Several of these Chick critics/ collectors wrote reviews for my book, so I know he has fans who love his product but hate his message.

When you ask if it is possible to remain untouched by his message, of that I am less sure. I suspect the more people collect his work and appreciate his talent, the harder it becomes for them to hate everything he represents. In other words, it tends to soften them to Chick and his message over time. They may still remain a gay Satanist Rock and Roller, but when their pals come around with a truck and baseball bats and want to go crack some Christian heads (to use a Chick analogy), they become less inclined to join the fun. It’s much easier to hate a group when you don’t actually know anyone in that group, yet everyone who reads Chick can’t help but get to know him after a while.

I look at the tracts and the comics as totally different kettles of fish because I think more often the tracts are aimed at a specific “sins” or “lifestyles” whereas the comics tend to tell “untold” histories or present conspiracies to the reader. Most of these subjects are quite controversial. How much research into these subjects do you feel that Jack Chick would have done before producing the tracts and comics?

The tracts are different from the comics, as you point out, but the comics tend to split up into two different groups as well.

The comic books remind me a lot of the TV show The X-files, but instead of agent Mulder and Scully, you get Tim Clark and James Carter, aka “The Crusaders”. Remember how there were two different types of X-files episodes? The first type was the conventional monster-of-the-week (M.O.T.W) tale, where Scully and Mulder track down the vampire or Mutant on the loose. With the Crusaders, that monster is Satan in the guise of some evil villain or cultural vice.

The earlier X-files M.O.T.W. stories were the episodes that got the public hooked, because they had the most action and eye candy. The same goes for The Crusaders. The first eleven comics have Tim and James dodging bullets, racing cars, and escaping other violent entrapments (thanks to the power of prayer) and always saving the day (or non-believer) by the end.

Later on, the X-files created a different formula, the conspiracy episode, which featured less action but put more emphasis on mystery and intrigue. So did The Crusaders. The basic difference was that while Agent Mulder and Scully got information from Deep Throat (a former insider) who tattled about the ongoing UFO conspiracy, The Crusaders listened to Alberto (who was said to be an former Jesuit) explain the vast Vatican conspiracy. The general public was less impressed when both series got deeper and deeper into the conspiracy plots, but the hardcore fans loved it.

Ironically, Deep Throat was shot in Mulder’s presence for revealing the truth in the X-files. And someone actually shot at Alberto Rivera in Chick’s presence (in a drive by situation) in real life. Year’s later, Alberto died of colon cancer, but he blamed it on a special poison given to him by an undercover Catholic. (I think I hear the X-files synthesizer playing now!)

Regarding Chick’s research: Chick’s background was in acting. He graduated the Pasadena Playhouse just after fighting in WW2. He likes drama so sensational plots are a natural attraction to him. That being said, he also feels constrained to tell the truth as he sees it. He believes in a living God who intervenes in our daily lives, which many Christians also believe. Where he differs is that he also believes in a real Satan, and that the devil ALSO intervenes in our daily lives. (Many Christians say they believe in the Bible but don’t actually think the devil is real.) This is why Chick is so suspicious of conspiracies, because it only stands to reason that the Prince of Lies would use conspiracies to promote evil, corrupt popular culture, and turn people away from the true Word of God (The Bible).

halparody

Chick reads his King James Bible, and sees how modern translations keep watering it down with newer and looser language, until they get to the point where certain churches want marry gays, and another wants to make Mary a “co-redeemer”. Chick sees these beliefs as blasphemies and proof of a Satanic plot to undermine Christianity from within. Now some may believe its just a coincidence that our culture, our government, our schools, and even many churches are working together to lead society further and further away from traditional Biblical values, but Chick and his supporters find that too hard to swallow. They recognize these changes as being orchestrated by activists, factions, unions, and special interest groups who have a progressive agenda. Chick and fellow fundamentalists believe that agenda is evil and inspired by Satan to turn the world against God. (You can choose not to believe it, but you can’t say that it doesn’t make sense.)

Like any good lawyer, Chick sets out to research and gather information that supports his position. He’s not interested in proving the other side’s case, so he only includes info that supports the fundamentalist view. He’s used different sources in the past, and some of them are quite controversial and shaky. However, David Daniels, the man who currently helps Chick write tracts (and numerous books), is a good researcher who knows how to document his sources. Daniels has a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological University and is well trained in the Bible and linguistics. So basically, it appears that Chick is responding to criticism that his claims have poor sources by bringing people like Daniels on board. Whether that helps him win more of his cases in the court of public opinion remains to be seen.

Do you have a favorite tract or comic (or both)? If so, which ones and why?

My favorite tracts are Wounded Children (about homosexuality), Angels? (about Rock and Roll), Satan’s Master (about witchcraft), Lisa (about child molestation), and Dark Dungeons (about role playing gamers). The main reason those are my faves tend is a combination of the sensational plots, the cool art, and, I confess, the fact that they are all out of print and rare.

spellbound

My favorite Chick comic is Spellbound. It’s an action packed tale revolving around John Todd’s testimony about the Rock and Roll industry being run by the Illuminati. (Alberto later co-opted this claim by saying the Vatican controlled the Illuminati.) Spellbound has a pretty down beat ending too, with only a Pyrrhic victory, since one of two main characters is murdered before he can convert, and the news media compare the Christians to Nazis when they burn the Satanic Rock and Roll records.

john-todd1On a happier note, John Todd’s character (Lance Collins) is saved from being shot in a drive by attempt, something that John Todd claimed happened to him in real life (but Chick did NOT witness that situation). These sure aren’t your average comic books!

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Dr. Walid Mustafa is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities at the La Sallian school Bethlehem University of the Holy Land. Since 2004 Dr. Mustafa has been Dean of Faculty of the Arts. Previously he was Dean of Students at the same university. Dr. Mustafa received his Ph.D. from Kiev State University in the Ukraine. He has authored or co-authored seven books and numerous articles about various aspects of history, society and politics in the region. Bethlehem University of the Holy Land, or simply Bethlehem University, is located in the town of Bethlehem in the West Bank area of the Palestinian state.

Gary Dale: Dr. Mustafa, I appreciate the opportunity to interview you and I am very happy to have the chance to gain more background about some of the incredible claims in Alberto Rivera’s account of how the Roman Catholic Church allegedly helped to “create” Islam. Can you begin by telling me a little bit about the Jews of the Arabian Peninsula who were contemporaries of the prophet Mohammed?

Dr. Mustafa: The Jews who lived in this land were of Arab origin. They spoke Arabic and they had Arab names. Their traditions were those of the Arabian Peninsula. Judaism, like Islam and Christianity, is not a nationality. Nor does it mark tribal or national affiliation as is known. A man may be Buddhist and still belong to his homeland India, Thailand, or China. Similarly, a man may belong to Judaism and have an Arab, Russian or French nationality.

Gary Dale: Can you provide a little background on where these Jews came from? What was their history?

Dr. Mustafa: When Moses and his followers in Judaism emigrated from Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the present holy land, archeological studies, including the Israeli’s, that is critical of the Torah-historical school, proved that the number of those who emigrated from Egypt was limited and that that emigration did not take place in thousands. Therefore, Judaism gradually spread to a part of the Canaanite tribes living in those lands. The proof for this is that the state established by Shaoul, David and Solomon did not come into being at once but after about three centuries after the emigration of the followers of Moses to the holy land. Had the emigration been in thousands, when population of the holy land ranged between 50 and100 thousand, the Jewish state would not have taken that long to be established. The facts of archeological studies show that this Jewish state was a part of small political entities, known as city states or tribal cities that were established in the Canaanite land in the 11th century BC. These small states came into being simultaneously in the Canaanite land, namely Philistia, Phoenicia, Aram, Amon, Adom, and the kingdom of Judea, which soon was divided during the reign of Rahba’am (Solomon’s son) into the kingdoms of Judea and Israel. Those six “states” shared their origins, dialects (Semitic languages) and cultural standard. It is difficult to distinguish between the archeological and cultural remains of those states. In other words, the Jewish kingdom was not an alien body, established by aliens in the land but it was established by a group who lived in this region and constituted a part of its history. Consequently, there exists no nationalist ties between the Jews of the world and the kingdom that was established in the 11th century. In fact, the ties between them are spiritual, similar to those that link the Christians with Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth in the holy land and the Muslim with Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. No Christian or Muslim in the world can claim that he has nationalist ties with Saudi Arabia or Palestine, which give him the right to citizenship, dominion or sovereignty. This land has its nationals that are attached to it historically and nationally.

Gary Dale: You just mentioned that the Jews were emigrating back from Egypt over a long period of time and gradually built up their state. How then did they get so spread throughout the Holy Land as well as outside of the region after that?

Dr. Mustafa: Some citizens in this state, as was the case in other kingdoms, spread in the adjacent regions through what was known in that era, the ten centuries before Christ, as captivity. The victorious or conquerors from Mesopotamia or the Nile used to capture the most beautiful, skilled strongest among the defeated nation and take them to Babel and other capital of the conquering nations, in order to participate in rebuilding, developing and serving those capitals. Some of those used to return home later on or remain in the new country. This happened with the Jews, who were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century before Christ.

Gary Dale: This is how Jews got to Mesopotamia. Alberto Rivera speaks specifically of Jews in Saudi Arabia. Could you elaborate a little about how the Jews got to Arabia?

Dr. Mustafa: A part of the followers of Judaism who lived in the Holy Land during the Greek and Roman reigns moved to the adjacent regions in the Northern Arabian Peninsula (the city of Yathrib, including the Khaibar village) and to the Southern Peninsula (Yemen), due to the tyranny of the new regimes that did not accept Judaism as a competitor to the official religion of the ruling government. Some of them my have moved of their own will in search for new more favorable means of living in an area other than the homeland, as was the case of the nations of that epoch. This helped in the spread of Judaism in one way or another among the nations of the new regions, which were of Arab origins, to which the Jews emigrated.

Gary Dale: How about Mohammed’s relations with the Jews? Was he known to have contact with Jews in the Arabian Peninsula?

Dr. Mustafa: After the severe ordeal experienced by Prophet Mohammad and his followers at the hands of the leaders of Mecca, he accepted the invitation extended to him and his followers to emigrate to the city of Yathreb, which lies to the south of Mecca and which was considered the second city in importance in the Peninsula at that time. The Jews of Yathreb and Khaibar participated in welcoming Mohammad and his compatriots. However, the establishment of the Islamic state in Yathreb later on and its growing stronger in power led to conflict with the commercial and social interests of the Arab Jewish leaders in Yathreb, which led to eruption of armed struggle with the two parties and the defeat of the Jews. This forced a number of them to leave the North of the Arabian Peninsula, heading to the holy land, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt, either by force or willingly. After the completion of the victory of the Islamic state in the Arabian Peninsula, a law was issued, which forbade followers of other religions to live in the cities of Mecca and Yathreb. They could reside in the other cities and regions of the Peninsula.

Gary Dale: The assertion by Alberto Rivera through Jack Chick’s tract comic “The Prophet” claims that the Vatican used Islam to extinguish Jews and rival Christian, non-Catholic, denominations. Can you give us some back ground as to how the Christians, and Jews, were treated in the area as Islam became the dominant religion of the area?

Dr. Mustafa: When Islam spread in what is called the Middle East at the beginning of the 7th century, the followers of Judaism and Christianity living in that region were clearly protected. Their religious places and properties were also protected. Use was made of their experiences in administrative matters, the sciences, translation and literature. Followers of Judaism and Christianity lived in peace and cooperation with the new Islamic state and many of them were distinguished as men of politics, science, literature and art.

Gary Dale: And how about North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula?

Dr. Mustafa: When the Muslim Arabs conquered northern Africa and the Iberian peninsula (Andalusia), the Jewish Arabs moved with them and emerged as a part of the political entities that were established in that land. When the Arab Muslims were defeated in Andalusia at the end of the 15th century AD, the Muslim, Jewish and Christian Arabs moved to the northern part of Africa and other regions of the Ottoman state. Some Jews lived in the northern part of Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya), forming a large Arab Jewish community there. Some others moved to Egypt, Turkey, Greater Syria and Iraq, joining the Jews who were originally living there.

Gary Dale: And so a good part of the Jewish Diaspora started part and parcel with the spread of Islam, rather than the claims that Jews and Christians were “put under the sword”, so to speak. In the Rivera story this doesn’t fit because he claims that there has been animosity stirred between the Jews and the Arabs by the Vatican since basically the birth of Islam. Can you elaborate on when and where you believe the animosity arose?

Dr. Mustafa: It should be noted that throughout history, Jewish communities moved to Europe via the Persian and Caucasian lands and that community contributed to the spread of Judaism among the different European nations. Arab Jews enjoyed continued living in peace and cooperation with their fellow Christian and Muslim Arabs in most of the Arab countries until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, when the tragic events that befell the Palestinian people, who paid a heavy price that led to the emigration and evacuation of more than 750,000 Palestinians out of their villages and cities on which Israel was established. That led to spread of an atmosphere of suspicion and hatred, which were used by the Zionist movement, which conducted a wide propaganda campaign that led to the emigration of the vast majority of the Arab Jews from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The number of Jews of Arab origin is estimated to be between 30 and 35% of the population of Israel at present. A visitor to Israel can notice the clinging of those Arab Jews to the customs, traditions and culture that they carried with them from the Arab countries out of which they emigrated. Those residents may serve as a bridge that leads to the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace between Arabs and Jews.

Gary Dale: If you don’t mind, I would like to turn our attention now to Waraqah, who is sort of portrayed as an agent of the Roman Catholic Church. Can you give me some background on him?

Dr. Mustafa: Waraqah was the uncle or cousin of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the Prophet. Waraqah witnessed their wedding.

Gary Dale: Can you give me an idea of Waraqah’s religious background?

Dr. Mustafa: Waraqah ibn Nawfal was a Christian. He didn’t inherit this from his parents but reached this out of personal conviction. He traveled to Damascus, met there a number of Christians and then followed this religion. Before Islam, Waraqah was known by the Arabs as a member of a group named “Hanafiyeen”, who refused to worship idols and searched for God in creeds other than those of their fathers and forefathers.

Gary Dale: Were there many other Christians in Arabia at the time?

Dr. Mustafa: No evidence exists in history that proves that there was a big Christian community in Mecca and Waraqah was not a Bishop of Mecca. The explanation for that was that Mecca was an important commercial center in the Arabian Peninsula, in whose worship, rituals and trade, many tribes which were living in the Peninsula were united. Each tribe preserved its worship, rituals and gods and sent samples to the noblest of places in Mecca, Al-Kaaba, in which were preserved samples of the gods of Arab tribes. Special festive seasons were devoted there to perform pilgrimage and visit these gods. Therefore, it was no coincidence that the political and trade leadership in Mecca fiercely opposed the new call of Islam. When they could not overcome it, they joined it.

Gary Dale: The Chick Publication claims that Waraqah had lots of influence in Mohammed’s theological development. Can you briefly address this?

Dr. Mustafa: We sometimes read in several historical sources of Christian inclination to exaggeration, in my opinion, of the role played by Waraqah in the formation of the Islamic creed of Mohammed. Doubtless, Mohammed was influenced by the teachings of both Judaism and Christianity. Islam considers itself a continuation and completion of the two religions. Historical Muslim sources prove Waraqah ibn Nawfal’s welcoming of Mohammed’s prophet hood. However, anyone who is deeply knowledgeable about the Islamic teachings notices differences between Islam and the other two religions as there were differences between Christ’s teachings and those of Judaism. Prophet Mohammed lived in a different age and environment and was distinguished by genius that qualified him to bring new things too. Had Waraqah been the mentor and revelation for Mohammed, why didn’t he himself call for it, as he had a status, reputation and roots that were not unequal to Mohammed’s.

Gary Dale: It seems to me far fetched that Waraqah would have even been able to have had anything to do with the Catholic Church as Alberto Rivera claims in his tale of conspiracy. No one knows for certain what faith Waraqah followed. Could you possibly shed any light on the matter?

Dr. Mustafa: Waraqah lived in the second half of the 6th century and beginning of the 7th century AD. He adopted Christianity at the hands of religious men in Damascus. The Damascene church was attached to Constantinople, or the eastern church. Therefore, I think it is unlikely that Waraqah was a Catholic. Moreover, I agree with you that talking about Islam as if it were a Catholic conspiracy for the control of Jerusalem is far-fetched and daring fantasy of interpreting history, which is the result of economic, social and political conditions and not the result of conspiracy.

Gary Dale: Near the end of Alberto Rivera’s story he says that the miracles witnessed in Fátima, Portugal, were all aimed at getting Arabs to convert to Catholicism. I have laid out reasons in my text why this couldn’t be true, but let’s entertain the idea that it was true. I still don’t see any Arabs converting en mass to Catholicism. Can you offer a few words on this subject?

Dr. Mustafa: I think that the present phase of relationship between religions in the world, especially the three monotheistic religions, is characterized by the awareness and conviction of the followers of each of these three religions of their beliefs. The relationship that connects the followers of these religions is tolerance, recognition of the other and respect for the differences among them. Therefore, I think that conversion is rare and if it occurs, there would be narrow material interests behind it. Religion in the Arab world constitutes an essential component of the social fabric and it has deep impact on customs and traditions. It is also part of the essence of human activities, such as marriage, holiday observance, occasions and others. Consequently, conversion is not easy. And if it happens, it leads to the isolation and distancing of the converter from his family and group. On the basis of my general observations, I don’t see a conversion movement. Even moving from one sect to another is rare for the same reasons, e.g., a Sunni becomes a Shiite or an Orthodox Catholic. Moving to a sect may occur in order to get support or financial or educational assistance and not more.

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