RAINBOW CITY, Ala. — In the wake of a coordinated ISIS terrorist attack on the Istanbul airport that left dozens dead and hundreds injured, one Alabama lawmaker is expressing his exasperation with the ongoing debate over the role Islam is playing in such violence.
State Rep. Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) on Wednesday criticized the continued insistence that Islam is a peaceful religion.
“Have you noticed that we keep hearing how Islam is a religion of peace as they blow people up?” He asked rhetorically on social media. “(We’re) living life upside down.”
“Makes you wonder, Mack, how many innocent lives have to be lost before it ceases to be considered this ‘religion of peace,’ added former Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Freddy Ard in a comment. “How many suicide bombers are produced by Christianity? By Judaism? By Hinduism? By Buddhism?”
Rep. Butler was particularly critical of President Obama, whose priorities Butler believes are out of sync with most Americans, especially those living in Alabama.
“This guy is obsessed with killing babies, radical Islam, and men peeing with little girls,” said Butler, referencing the president’s support for abortion and transgender or gender neutral bathrooms. “What has happened that family values are all of a sudden so offensive? The federal government has declared war on the American family. Truly living life upside down. Pray for America.”
Butler’s comments come just days after one Muslim leader delivered a speech in Alabama insisting “there’s a problem in the house of Islam that needs to be addressed.”
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said the “disease” of radical Islam must be addressed by Muslims themselves.
“We (need to) start getting the message out that we recognize have a problem and (need to) reform the 13th century ideas that are still stuck and haven’t been addressed,” he said. “Then we can start to treat the disease at its core.”
Jasser said recent terrorist attacks have been executed by individuals whose personalities had been “hijacked” by the “virus” of “radical Islamism and theocratic Islam.”
“Until we Muslims counter that global virus, this will continue to happen over and over,” he insisted. “Until we deal with the core issues we will continue to have these radicals get through as they have in Orlando, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, and Fort Hood.”
“America needs to see [Muslims] leading,” he continued, “declaring war on jihad — that we want to jihad against jihad. There are Muslims being radicalized, lining up to fight for ISIS. Where are the lines of Muslims, not just to fire up press releases in to email and faxes? Where are the Muslims?”
Dr. Jasser’s message may have been refreshing to non-Muslims who have grown frustrated with Islamic leaders’ seeming refusal to take responsibility for eradicating the growth of radicalism within their faith, but some other Muslims did not appreciate what he had to say.
Ashfaq Taufique, President of the Birmingham Islamic Society, said in a statement to WVTM that Dr. Jasser is part of the problem and is doing little more than spreading Islamophobia.
By saying that the house of Islam is creating radical extremists, we are conveniently ignoring the massive ongoing efforts of American and International Islamic scholarship leading the charge against intellectually deconstructing the extremist ideologies being propagated in the guise of Islam…
Using Islamic scripture and sources, Muslim scholars worldwide have thoroughly refuted the ideologies of terrorists that claim to carry out their barbaric acts in the name of Islam… By claiming that Islam needs reform, what Dr. Jasser is effectively doing is conflating the fringe ideologies of radical groups that claim to be Muslim, with the normative Islam practiced by 1.5 billion peaceful Muslims throughout the world. If anything, Islam needs to be properly explained to the youth and uninformed Muslims who are the targets for recruitment by terrorists, so that they know that Islam does not condone terrorism.
Majority of the mosques in the United States follow the Islam of late boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who was a clear example of what American Islam looks like. There was no influence of Saudi Arabia or Iran there. To see how American Muslims practice their faith, a suggestion would be to please visit your local mosque and meet.