Debunking Mark Harvey and the Myths About Islam

One theme I’m going to try to keep at KTracy.com is the use of Sundays to post spiritual and religious content on the blog.  While this will probably center around my family’s Catholic faith, I will from time to time write about other faith traditions; as I will this week as we discuss some very common misconceptions of Islam that non-Muslims (especially Christians) have.  The reason I’m writing about this is a debate I had with two hateful bigots on Facebook a few days ago, Jon Byron and Mark Harvey of The Snooper Report. The debate actually “inspired” a post on the Snooper Report and my points were cited aggressively in there.  So if you want proof of bigotry and ignorance on the political right, check it out.

Unfortunately (and conveniently for himself), Mark Harvey left out the comments left by himself and Jon Byron. I would like to share some of those and provide some comments that will hopefully dispel some of the myths and misconceptions of Islam these hate mongers have.

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I have a feeling that many people, like Mark Harvey, have no clue what a “Fatwa” is.  It sure sounds scary, right?  That’s what Mark Harvey and his hate mongers want you think. Well, it sounds scary because it’s a foreign word.  A “Fatwa” is merely a legal opinion/pronouncement issued by a religious law scholar.  That’s it.  Nobody has to die.  Nobody has to obey it.

Here are some examples of Fatwas.  Mark Harvey wants us to read some.  So read these.

In March of 2005, a Spanish Muslim named Mansur Escudero Bedate, the Secretary General of the Islamic Conmmission of Span, issued a fatwa against Osama bin Laden, claiming that Bin Laden and his al-Qaida network had abandoned Islam and should therefore be referred to as just terrorists as opposed to Islamic terrorists.  Later that summer, the Fiqh Council of North America issued a fatwa of their own to the same effect, banning support of terrorist organizations like al-Qaida who have abandoned Islam.

One Fatwa I’m sure Mark Harvey has failed to read, despite all of his experience in dealing with Muslims, is this.  In 2010, Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri issued a 600 page long fatwa that directly repudiated the violent ideologies of al-Qaida and the Taliban by proving in a plethora of different ways that the Quran and Sunnah prohibit terrorism and suicide bombings and that such acts are so unjust and evil that their practice can only be un-Islamic.  The English translation of The Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings is 512 pages; which may seem daunting; but I highly recommend owning it if you’re going to debunk a bigot like Mark Harvey.  Even Pope Benedict XVI has a copy.

Hardcover:
Kindle:

What about the “Hadiths”?  Like Fatwas, Hadith are also not spiritually binding.  A hadith is a saying or behavior that (correctly or not) has been credited to the Prophet Muhammad.  After Muhammad died, stories of the his life were gathered and evaluated for use to supplement the Quran.  However, because Muslims believe the Quran was written by God and the hadith is merely a collection of sayings of Muhammed, the hadith are not necessarily sacred.  They are merely used as a tool to help a faithful Muslim better understand the lessons in the Quran.  The accuracy of some hadith are debatable in Islam and among historians because this isn’t first-hand information.

One of the lesser credible hadith state say martyrs would have 72 virgins waiting for them in heaven.  That’s nowhere in the Quran and, as I stated above, hadith are not spiritually binding to Muslims;  only the Quran is.

I think this next exchange between Mark Harvey and Jon Byron best summarizes their lunacy.

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REALLY?!  So, your final solution is to kill a bunch of Americans, overthrow the US government, hijack the US military, and slaughter a sixth of the world’s population?  Mark Harvey is some kind of stupid that they don’t have a word for yet… oh wait, I think they’re called Nazis, and this Memorial Day weekend, we’re supposed to be remembering the sacrifices made by those who lost everything to keep our country free from the enemies of our past and present, including those Nazis who tried to do exactly what Mark Harvey is suggesting.

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Seriously, I’m praying for your soul if you think people like Mark Harvey and his groupie have any place in civil political discourse… or even in the realm of common sense.  In 2002, Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip supposedly tainted the bodies of would-be suicide bombers by wrapping their remains in pig skin and lard.

HAMAS’ late-founder Sheikh Hassan Youssef responded by saying, “The keys to heaven are not in the hands of the settlers.”  That’s in part because the Quran says that “the body of a martyr is so pure that it does not need to be washed before burial.”  Now, I don’t believe terrorists are or should be considered martyrs, but those innocent Muslims that Mark Harvey and Jon Byron would gleefully kill in such a manner would have to be considered martyrs because they died for their belief in Islam.

Mark Harvey and his lackey’s ignorance actually comes from a 100-year-old legend that General Pershing ended an Islamic rebellion in the Philippines by killing captured terrorists with bullets that had been placed in pig fat and then buried their bodies with pigs.  There is absolutely no evidence that such an act ever occurred.  If it had, the Philippines would have exploded in outrage, not been subdued.  But that’s a topic for another blog post.

The purpose in bringing it up is simply to prove that we’re dealing with idiots in folks like Mark Harvey who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Please, allow me to summarize this as quickly as possible.  There are two camps of thought.

Mark Harvey’s camp believes that Islam is inherently Satanic and evil.  That Muslims can lie about and do anything in order to kill Christians and Jews and then take over the world.  That’s why Barack Obama can call himself a Christian, promote Communism, and fight to legalize gay marriage and normalize homosexuality.  To people like Mark Harvey, there is no such thing as a “peaceful Muslim”, they all are just waiting for their opportunity to kill an infidel.  It’s a conspiracy theory involving more than a sixth of the world’s population that’s been progressing forward for 1,400 years and you’re stupid if you don’t believe everything that comes out of Mark Harvey’s mouth.

The other camp of thought; which I believe to be more reasonable; points to the fact that the vast majority of Muslims today and throughout history have never sought to kill anyone.  This is likely attributed to the teachings in the Quran; which states “God does not forbid you, with regards to those who fight you not for religion nor drive you away out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for God loves those who are just.” History is full of examples of Muslim kindness to non-Muslims, such as when King Richard of England became ill during the 3rd Crusade and Saladin (the commander of the Islamic armies and first Sultan of Egypt and Syria) sent gifts of fruits and horses to his enemy leader.  Likewise, after he defeated the Franks, he supplied them with food.  In 634, when Caliph Umar was the ruler of Jerusalem, he granted religious freedom to people from all religious communities and granted them all equal protection and vowed their places of worship would not be taken away from them.  While their are also examples of Muslims being intolerant towards others; that’s hardly unique.  Christianity has been equally guilty of intolerance during parts of our existence… these are also considered among the most shameful and regrettable parts of our history.  We also recognize that terrorists in groups like al-Qaida and the Taliban have killed many more Muslims than non-Muslims; which doesn’t jive with the hate-mongering camp of thought.

But it’s a free country and God has given you a free will.  Make your opinion based on what you think is right.  If hate-mongering, ignorance, bigotry, and intolerance are what your faith is based on and part of your patriotic duty, then be sure to subscribe to Mark Harvey’s Snooper Report‘s RSS feed.  If your faith and duty to this country is centered on a pursuit for truth and justice, then welcome to KTracy.com.

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Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

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