On Sunday, November 15, the Islamic Society of Tulsa, along with the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, Phillips Seminary in Bartlesville, and other organizations, sponsored a two-hour event at Tulsa Community College’s south Tulsa campus which they billed as an, “educational program” and titled: “Should we fear Islam.” Because the Islamic Society was one of the event’s sponsors, the answer to the question was predetermined. Imagine the Southern Baptist Convention sponsoring a talk titled: “Is Jesus the Messiah?” or Focus on the Family sponsoring one titled: “Is the Nuclear Family Good for Society?”
Author and attorney Hannibal B. Johnson was the moderator. He set a condescending tone for what was to follow by quoting from the song “Carefully Taught” in Rodgers and Hamerstein’s South Pacific:
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
Given the terrorism in the previous 48 hours in Paris in which more than a hundred people were slaughtered and several hundreds more were wounded by Islamic terrorists, it probably wasn’t an appropriate way to begin this event. Sadly, Mr. Johnson’s remarks quoting “Carefully Taught” and his related remarks were not directed toward the radical Muslims who approved of the Paris killings, some of whom may have been in the audience. Mr. Johnson was directing them toward the non-Muslim audience members.
It was a well coordinated show from the comments of the other three men who spoke, to the quotes provided on a large screen above the stage, to the questions for the speakers that had to be submitted in writing and filtered through Mr. Johnson. No questions were allowed directly from the floor. At the end of the event, a bearded man wearing a Muslim knit cap and a “Say No to Hate” T-shirt stood guard at the exit thanking everyone for attending, which was a little creepy.
The views offered by at the “educational program” were pleasing to the Muslims and deceiving to the non-Muslims in the auditorium.
Rabbi Charles Sherman of Temple Israel in Tulsa told the audience that Jews thrived in Spain under the Muslims. What he didn’t tell the audience was how the Muslims arrived in Spain. They invaded it in 711 A.D. He spoke of the “ignorance and irrational fear'” people have of Muslims. In support of his saying that, he mentioned a sign at the Veterans’ Day parade the previous week that read, “Every real Muslim is a jihadist.” This sign was no doubt displayed at the parade as a response to the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR) having a float in that parade. Sherman, a member of the left-wing Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ), complained about the “far-right propaganda” he said presents a perverse distortion of Islam. “Those who kill in the name of God and hijack Islam must be denounced.” He called on moderates of all religions to denounce their violent extremists. His speech was followed by the appearance on the large screen of several quotes from the Muslim holy book, the Quran. none of which could inspire Al-Queda or ISIS members because they were all about justice, peace, and love. There were no quotes shown at that time about injustice, war, and killing of infidels, which the Quran also promotes.
Professor Charles Kimball, an ordained Baptist minister and professor of theology at the University of Tulsa, spoke about fanatics in all religions. He said religion is a powerful force for terrorists. In an attempt to make his point, he used as examples the Klu-Klux-Klan; the Westboro Baptist Church in Wichita; and Timothy McVeigh, the man behind the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. McVeigh was a fallen away Catholic, and by his own admission his acts were motivated by politics, not religion. Professor Kimball’s statement that McVeigh was a Christian fanatic is not a true statement.
And he mentioned Indonesia as an example of a Muslim country where people live relatively peaceful lives. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world.
Tulsa native and convert to Islam, Imam John Ederer complained about the “right-wing media,” especially Fox News, for bad coverage of the Muslim community. However, not all critical coverage of Islam comes via Fox News. CNN anchors interviewed Yasser Louati, a spokesman for the Paris Muslim community. Louati told CNN the Muslim community takes no responsibility for the attacks, and they are on the side of France. He went on to say he believed the attacks on Friday the 13th were the result of France’s “failed foreign policy.” He also complained about the treatment of Muslims in France. The CNN anchors were irritated with Louati because he didn’t believe the Muslim community bore any responsibility for the attacks even though the terrorists were Muslim and he was blaming the French, who were the terrorized victims of Muslims.
Imam Ederer mentioned Ahmed M_ohamed, a.k.a. Clock Boy, as an example of racial and religious bigotry. Ahmed is the 14-year-old boy in Texas who took a Radio Shack alarm clock apart and put it back together to make it look like a homemade clock. When he took it to school, because it looked something like a bomb, the police were called. Ahmed would not tell the police it was just a clock, and he was arrested. He was given salutations from President Obama and others for his “brilliant” clock. “If it was anybody else, it wouldn’t be that way,” Imam Ederer said. Given the hyper sensitivity of schools today, it is certain that each and every student who brought something to school looking like a bomb would receive the same treatment. Imam Ederer failed to mention the meeting in October that Clock Boy had with the president of Sudan, Omer Hassen al-Bashir. who is wanted by the United Nations for war crimes against Christians in the southern part of Sudan, which is now South Sudan, and against other infidels in the western Sudanese province of Darfur.
He mentioned Alton Nolan’s name in the context of controversy surrounding Islam, but he didn’t say anything about him. Alton Nolan is the convert to Islam in Moore, Oklahoma, who in September 2014 beheaded Colleen Hufford and attempted to behead a second woman after being fired from his job at the Vaughn Foods Company. Nolan was prevented from killing his second victim when the owner of the factory shot and wounded him.
One point of Imam Ederer’s speech was really telling. He talked about the treatment of women in Muslim societies governed by Sharia, the law of the Quran. Ederer said Mohammed’s wife – he had many; Ederer didn’t mention that – owned her own camel. He mentioned a television interview by Diane Sawyer of a Saudi princess. Sawyer asked the princess about the treatment of women in Islam. The princess responded that some Muslim countries have women prime ministers and that the United States has never had a woman president. Ederer never mentioned that women in Saudi Arabia under Sharia are not allowed to drive, leave their homes unattended, and are considered second class citizens. This moment was especially telling in that neither Rabbi Sherman nor Professor Kimball, men who would likely consider themselves progressives, said a contrary word. They were silent when the imam glossed over Islam’s treatment of women.
It is important to note that the speakers never sought to explain or excuse the motivations for Islamic terrorism. Instead, they denounced terror acts. Never was it said by any of them that there is a problem in Islam that breeds acts of cruelty and violence against fellow Muslims and non-believers, i.e. infidels. None of them mentioned the Quran instructs the followers of Mohammed to kill or enslave infidels. And yet Imam Ederer admitted that he has a good relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If there is not a problem in the Muslim community with radicalism, why does the imam have a relationship with the FBI? I sat next to an associate pastor at Boston Avenue Methodist Church. I doubt he has any relationship with the FBI. In a rare moment of candor, when Professor Kimball was asked, in one of the written questions submitted to Hannibal Johnson, if we should fear young Muslim men, Kimball said we should, as we don’t know who among them have been radicalized.
The “Should we fear Islam” educational program was like a two-hour commercial for a pharmaceutical product without the disclaimers about many harmful side effects including death.