Many people in today’s Democratic party have contempt for religion, but they still have time for prayer. Last Friday, during the Democratic National Committee’s Annual Winter Meeting in Washington, Husham Al-Husainy, Imam of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center, a Shi’ite mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, offered an invocation:
In the name of God the most merciful, the most compassionate. We thank you, God, to bless us among your creations. We thank you, God, to make us as a great nation. We thank you God, to send us your messages through our father Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed. Through you, God, we unite. So guide us to the right path. The path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom. Help us, God, to liberate and fill this earth with justice and peace and love and equality. And help us to stop the war and violence, and oppression and occupation. Ameen.
A touching moment of ecumenical generosity and hope for peace? Not quite. In mentioning "Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed," Al-Husainy no doubt sounded as if he was expansive, broad-minded, and not narrowly sectarian to the assembled Democrats. But in fact, it is mainstream Islam that all of these were prophets who taught Islam, and that the followers of Moses and Jesus corrupted their teachings to create Judaism and Christianity. The Qur’an says that Abraham was not a Jew or a Christian, but a Muslim (3:67), and depicts Jesus denying his own divinity (5:116) — and this, of course, is the Imam’s frame of reference. So what seems to be a gesture of ecumenical generosity actually amounts to a declaration of religious supremacism and the delegitimization of other religions.
What’s more, if a Christian priest or minister had prayed at a DNC meeting that those attending be guided away from the path of those doomed by God, the outcry would have been swift and shrill. Those whom God dooms? Hardly a concept that fits comfortably into today’s culture of non-accountability, but evidently it was acceptable to the Democrats when coming from a Muslim.
In this, in any case, the Imam echoed the Fatiha, the first sura of the Qur’an and most common prayer of Islam. It asks Allah: "Show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray." The traditional Islamic understanding of this is that the "straight pat" is Islam. Most Muslim commentators believe that the Jews are those who have earned Allah’s wrath and the Christians are those who have gone astray. The classic Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains that "the two paths He described here are both misguided," and that those "two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them."
It was also noteworthy that the Democrats continued standing with heads bowed piously while Al-Husainy prayed for an end to "war and violence, and oppression and occupation." Occupation? In Iraq and Israel, no doubt. After all, according to Debbie Schlussel, during the Israeli incursion into Lebanon last summer Al-Husainy led "almost-daily protests of thousands of Hezbollah supporters on the streets of Dearborn and Detroit, swarming with swastikas and anti-Semitic, anti-American signs." In August 2004, “he led anti-Bush, anti-American rallies on the streets of Dearborn,” and at other times "he led a number of pro-HAMAS and pro-Arafat rallies in the area."
Of course, many of these ideas are mainstream among Democrats nowadays, so it is perhaps not surprising that Al-Husainy would have been welcome at the DNC meeting. The peculiar episode of his invocation is emblematic of the larger alliance between the Left and the global jihad — an alliance that may make the DNC’s conversion to Islam unnecessary, as the anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism of the jihadists is already abundantly in evidence among them. Perhaps this is a marriage of convenience for the Left, but, as the jihad continues to advance, it is one they will almost certainly someday come to regret.
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