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What's right with Islam

Islam & Terrorism

Issue: "Islam and teroris," Oct. 27, 2001

My goal here is not to do a detailed theological critique of Islam, but-in five sets of five propositions each-to look quickly at the cultural and political implications of the worldview that arises from Islam. I'll start by noting five positives concerning Islam, because it's good when approaching any religion to see its strengths as well as its weaknesses.

Islam moved Arabs and many other people from polytheism, often accompanied by grotesque practices, to monotheism. Muslims believe in one god, all-powerful and ever-present, uncreated, without beginning or end, completely sufficient to himself and ordaining everything that occurs.

Islam is strongly creationist, arguing both from the Quran but also from intelligent design within nature. Once, when a Bedouin was asked what made him believe in Allah, he pointed to marks in the sand, which made it clear to him that a camel had gone by, even though he had not seen the camel. He then pointed to the mountains and said that it was equally clear that Allah had made them, although he did not witness that either. So Muslims say that the beauty and order of the universe, as well as the integration and complexity of a single cell, show that there is an intelligence behind it. They say that such complexity could not be the product merely of time plus chance.

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Muslims developed a civilization that made great advances in science, medicine, and mathematics. Among other things, they gave Arabic numerals to Europe. They emphasized health through rules of cleanliness and diet. In medieval times they emphasized medical research, because Muhammad had taught that "God has not created an illness without creating a cure for it ... some already known and some are not."

Islam stands with Christianity on many social issues. Islam opposes homosexuality and (generally) abortion. Islam emphasizes honesty in business. Muslims are not supposed to sell blemished produce, to cheat in weights and measures, to hoard, or to conceal a product's faults.

Islam has gained probably one billion adherents-only 15 percent of them Arabs-by welcoming adherents of every skin color and ethnicity. Muslims have had their own problems with racial reconciliation, given the history of Arab development of the slave trade, but the Quran, like the Bible, is colorblind. The six million Muslims now living in the United States can trace their ancestry back to many countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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