The following article was written in 2001.  Many changes have taken place since then, but the message has not changed.                         


                            Another view of Islam

                                                    By: Adline Hartman

       I am Adline Dilak Hartman and I am a Middle Eastern Christian. I come from the oldest group of Christian in the world, as I am an Assyrian. I speak Jesus’ native language and about four others, so I can relate to the topic of Islam from a very personal viewpoint. I am prompted to write about my view of Islam from a personal view and after reading a recent letter to the Gazette. I would like to thank my husband, Bill for helping on this effort.

       I have seen personally what the Islamic faith has done to the Christian faith in the middle-east. In the 1914 period over seven million Assyrians and Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire because of their faith. One doesn’t  hear about this from the media,. but it is true. Let me give you some examples of the tolerance that we are being told about by the local University professors and the media about Islam.

       Here are some examples that I would like to share with you but I think that one must first know where the authority for Islam’s view are found. Islamic rule emanates from the Koranic teachings and the Hadeeth (the sayings and deeds of Mohammad) based on The Abode of Peace (Dar Al-Silm), and The Abode of War (Dar Al-Harb); and the Islamic (shari'a) law, the aim of which is to establish one unilateral Islamic Nation covering the whole world.

       Over the years while reflecting on personal knowledge and monitoring news and the general media on Islamic developments, I came to realize that the dire situation the Assyrians found themselves in was similar to many other indigenous peoples throughout the world under Islamic rule. This realization led me to wonder as to why do such similarities occur in the experiences of indigenous people under Islamic rule?

       Freedom of choice is the most sacred right of a citizen. Without infringement on the democratic rights of others, a citizen in a democracy may pursue what he or she may find most appropriately accommodating, without fear of backlash. Authoritarianism impedes progress and stifles life. In general I have seen this in American, but not always in the work place, but I know now that the law in this wonderful country protects me.

        Governing laws should be secular, not sectarian. They should serve and protect the individual and the weak against the strong rather than subject him to racial and sectarian laws of a biased creed. What a person believes in, and how he serves his Creator, is his business so long as his practice is not dangerous or injurious to himself or others. Imposition of one’s will by coercion on others is repression. It is another form of persecution; it is unacceptable.

       Islam does not confine its role of representing God on earth merely to its believers. Carrying the sword, it extends its religious arm far and wide beyond its realm. Claiming God's Vicegerency, Islam stretches its arm to reach and punish people of different religions anywhere in the world by using its Fatwa religious Edict as a lethal weapon in executing its pronounced sentence. It considers its religion the all supreme. It acts in opposition to all other world religions and in defiance of all of them, including Judaism and Christianity, until Islam gains primacy over all.

        In protecting the Islamic faith and keeping it in the vanguard under its theocratic and semi-secular government system, violence is not ruled out. The three Islamic armed bodies, the Muta-we-ah, Mujahideen and Militias are all known in the Islamic world as staunch supporters of the Islamic edict (fatwa) and enforcers of their religious laws. The Muta-we-ah is the religious police sworn to maintain discipline and silence dangerous revisionists, exacting compliance of the religious law. Militia troops keep the disenchanted non-Moslem natives at bay. The Mujahideen (religious warriors for the sake of Allah) act as enforcers of the religious laws for such Islamic governments publicly. They are known in the Islamic world as the government's religious subjugators. They are enforcers and executioners of the Islamic law (Shari'a). Being subjugators of the Shari'a Islamic law, dissolving them is against the Islamic doctrine. In any Islamic country one of the three religious armed groups exits openly as an auxiliary force to implement local religious laws outside the government's secular laws. When government interests are threatened armed groups crop up and launch campaigns of terror. They  specifically target local indigenous nationals, non-Moslem multiethnic and foreigners. Such forces had existed since the advent of Islam in the form of tribal recruits of militias and mujahideen as a striking force under the  leadership of their overlords, the tribal chiefs and religious leaders   Later these forces fell under the authority of the Khaliphate and modern times have become separate segments of the Islamic government system. They crop up as the need arises. They disappear and melt away only after they have executed the (fatwa) religious edict, communicated to them clandestinely or publicly, depending on the strategy of the day.

        Until the late 70s, a number of world publications and media articles portrayed the Islamic world as peace-loving countries. They gave the reader the false impression that diversified ethnic groups in the Islamic world lived in peace and harmony. They portrayed them as living in peaceful coexistence and maintaining good neighborly relations. Travel Bureaus depicted colorful pictures of cities with impressive historical sites and ancient landmarks and beautiful scenery to promote tourism. They described the people as friendly and hospitable. Although embroiled in conflicts, travel agents promoted travel to unsafe countries for commercial gain, putting the life of innocent people at risk, like the 14 Greek tourists who were mowed down in mid-96 in front of a Cairo hotel, in Egypt, while getting on their bus, machine-gunned by Islamic militants. A surviving tourist described the killing: "vicious as lambs led to a slaughter."

       Most Islamic states of the Abode of Peace are in turmoil, engaged in infighting, aborting coup d'etats or hunting down fanatics. They are either at war or in direct and bitter conflict, over border disputes and transgressions. The conflict is usually between different sects and power challengers of secular reformists and sectarian conservatives. The chaos and random killings in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, Algeria, Somalia, and Indonesia are truly shocking.

       Until about 15 years ago, the Christians - the Assyrians and the Southern Sudanese in particular were suffering from oppression and discrimination in silence at the hands of the Islamic states of the Abode of Peace, but not any more. They are now speaking out. They are speaking out because of Islamic states' sick advocacy of the so-called holy war. They are appalled at the intensive flare-ups in Lebanon. They are horrified at the deliberate acts of total destruction of Christian villages in northern Iraq and Lebanon and the city of Beirut itself that resulted in bloodshed, vengeful killings and malicious destruction. Worst still, was Qaddafi's call to the Lebanese Maronite Christians to convert to Islam if they wanted peace. As a consequence, Islamic fundamentalism has re-surged and become more daring and violent.

       Whenever the social standard of an Islamic state reaches a certain conspicuous level comparable to Western culture, the Moslem clergy, in collaboration with the conservative elements, scheme to trigger its downfall. Whenever a certain group of people of an Islamic state becomes progressive and attempts to attain and maintain a certain
degree of high personal freedom of choice in arts, dress appearance, association and entertainment, Islamic states of the Abode of Peace accuse the progressive class of Western trends. They describe it as un-Islamic, corrupted by Western values, and with bad influence on the Islamic society. In the name of religion and morality, conservative elements together with the clergy of the abode of peace states, help bring down to utter ruin an era of progress and prosperity that took them decades to achieve as witnessed in Iran under the Shah, in Algeria and recently in Lebanon.

       Whirling like a vicious cyclone they ban and destroy whatever comes in their path that is different from the Islamic culture as immoral, deviant and unnatural. In Iran, the overwhelming color is black as if all are in mourning. Some fountains in public parks and cemeteries sprinkle red-colored water, signifying blood of the martyrs shed for their country. Afghanistan is in ruin, the warlords have destroyed its infrastructure due to factional power struggle. Most of the road network, public buildings and residential areas have been destroyed or are in appalling condition. Females are denied formal education. All female schools have been closed down. Women are encouraged to stay at home. They restrict them to dress according to the Islamic law. They must cover themselves from head to toe. They are not allowed to work. They are banned from joining the workforce as social workers and public servants, in pursuit of an honorable career to earn an honest livelihood. Algeria is in a blood bath; its roads and highways are death traps for the native Berber and its cities and villages battlefields.

       Lebanon is re-emerging from the rubbles of 17 years of a raging
sectarian war and destruction to an ominous future. The militant Hezbullah (God's Party) is determined to bring Lebanon under the thumb of the Shari'a rule of the Islamic Abode of Peace. Northern Iraq is living the life of a potentially volatile volcano on the verge of eruption. Since the advent of Islam,  the enthusiasm of the Moslem sectarian leaders to proving themselves right and asserting themselves as the ever-future world dominant rulers has not diminished a bit. (Iraq is where we Assyrians once created two of the Seven Wonders of the World and had the greatest society of the day.) How could other cultures survive in their midst?

       In the late sixties, a Kuwaiti lady from a respectable family returning from summer holiday in Europe came out off the plane with a small white dog she had bought as a pet. She descended the stairs with the dog held on a leash in front of her. Next day, on the five o'clock evening news, she was obliged to apologize for her unbecoming Western behavior and abandoned the idea of owning a pet dog. In Iraq, in the mid-sixties, in the early days of the ascendancy of the Baath Party to power, Abdul Salam Arif, the one time friend of General Abdul Karim Qassim, and later his executioner and successor to government, launched an ethical campaign of morality. Any schoolgirl or woman seen in public wearing above-the-knee skirt or dress was stopped and brushed with whitewash paint from the knees down to her ankles as a deterrent to unethical behavior. To avoid the 'painter's brush', a couple of schoolgirls, attempting to run across the street, were hit by cars and killed instantly. Many other schoolgirls were injured during that campaign. Besides the uproar and failure of the scandalous scheme, it caused grief to several families of good abiding citizens. Islamic culture seems to conflict more than agree with Westem culture.

       I praise the Lord that I am now in a country that allows me to have freedom and rights. I intend to defend these rights that others have allowed me to enjoy. I know why our President tells others that we are not against Islam and that it is a peaceful religion so that other Islamic countries will not go against us, and he is wise to do this. BUT PLEASE DO NOT LET OTHERS LIE TO YOU ABOUT ISLAM’S PEACEFUL NATURE AS I CAN GIVE YOU ANOTHER HUNDRED EXAMPLES LIKE THOSE ABOVE THAT IT IS NOT.

And there is no Allah in my Lord's name.
Written on Nov. 29, 2001