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What Went Wrong With Islam
And The Incredible Similarities Between Early Islam And Early America


A selection from the Editor and Co-writer of Little House On The Prairie
          Rose Wilder Lane, who wrote this selection following, was the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the name most often associated with the famous series Little House On The Prairie.  Rose, who at the time was a very well known writer and biographer, had encouraged her inexperienced mother to capture these stories from their youth, and helped her to edit and polish them.  She was the more well known of the two at that time.  She was a close friend of President Herbert Hoover  for forty years.  The selection below was extracted from Mrs. Lane's recently resurrected book, The Discovery Of Freedom,  written in 1943.  It is taken from her Chapter on Islam,  entitled  The Second Attempt.  There are a few links following this selection to learn more about Rose Wilder Lane and  where to order her book. 
Mrs. Lane's selection is followed by some very brief commentary by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad,  Ph.D.  He is President of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, a cum laude graduate of Harvard with his Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona.




Two peoples have done this: the Saracens and the Americans
Note:  Saracens, in those days,  was a frequent term for Muslims.

       . . . Look for the people whose lives are adjusted to a fast tempo, the people who travel swiftly and far, who communicate with each other quickly over long distances, people who attack space and time and create a civilization rapid, vibrant, depending on speed. Two peoples have done this: the Saracens and the Americans.

Here are two groups of people, as unlike as can possibly be. On the deserts and mountains and in the steamy fertile river valleys from the Ganges to the Atlantic, there were Hindus, Mongols, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Armenians, Persians, Medes, Arabs, Greeks, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Hittites, as many African peoples and a thousand others whose ancestors had worn that soil to dust under their feet before history began.

Ten centuries later, on a virgin continent of primeval forests and great rivers and fresh-water inland seas, there were Spanish, Norwegians, Africans, Dutch, Germans, French and English and Scots and Irish and Swedes, whose ancestors had been here for less than two centuries.

In both cases, suddenly, "As if a spark had fallen, one spark . . . on explosive powder," there is a terrific outburst of human energy.

In both cases, these people create a civilization having these features:

It is scientific, constantly increasing and using scientific knowledge. Its essential function is not war, but production and distribution of goods. It is tolerant of all races and creeds; it is humane. Its standard of living, including standards of cleanliness and health, is the highest in the world. Its tempo is increasingly rapid, and great speed in communication and transportation is necessary to its existence.

Saracens created that kind of civilization. Americans are creating that kind of civilization.

What have they in common, a Saracen who lived eight hundred years ago, and the American flying overhead today?

They share a common human situation on this earth, and a common human nature, and both live in conditions that do not prevent them from using their natural freedom.

The Saracens' civilization ceased to exist. Why?

I lived for some years in the remnants of the Turkish empire, and in Syria and Iraq.  I looked for such traces as I could find of an answer to that question. . .

Between the 15th century and the 17th century, the Muslims forgot the God of Abraham, Christ and Muhammad. [see note #99]  They came to think of God as Authority, controlling men.  I believe they could find no other explanation for the ruin of their world. They said it was an act of God; it was completely unreasonable, so they said that God is Unknowable. And this belief, prevailing among the millions, affected the newly-converted Turks, so that they, too, reverted to paganism. The Saracen world and the Turks who had conquered it, sank into stagnation.

Turkey was the Sick Man of Europe. From 1820 to 1924, the men who governed the Five Powers of Europe gathered solicitously around that sick bed, to hack off hunks of the patient. Human energy in Turkey was so weak that the people would not act, either for or against the Sultan. In the white lace marble palaces along the Bosporus, there could be nothing but palace-intrigues.

I remember a Young Turk in 1923. He was young, and passionately admired everything western. He was rapturous because Turkish women were now working in factories, like western women. Hats were fundamentally important to him, and he demanded an edict forbidding Turkish women to wear veils.

Mustapha Kemal issued that edict later; Turkish women felt as American women would feel if a nudist dictator ordered the police to permit no woman to wear any clothes in public. That edict was called, "freeing Turkish women." It shut a generation of them into their houses for the rest of their lives. [see note #100]

This Young Turk assured me that Turkey was awake at last; that Mustapha Kemal was a great liberator, who would keep European invaders out of Turkey, and compel Turks to act like Europeans; or else.

He said, "Praise be to God, at last we Turks are rebelling against God, like you Americans!"

I was shocked. He was amazed that I did not know my own country. He explained, as to a baby moron, "Surely you know that God made the world. God made the mountains and rivers. You Americans refuse to accept God's will. You cut down the mountains; you make the rivers run as you will, Ah, but that is magnificent! Man's will against God's! And you do it, you succeed! All praise to God! We Turks, too, we are rebelling against Him!"

Muslims had gone back to the static, changeless universe and the controlling Authority. They had escaped from the responsibility of freedom. Muslim life was stagnant for six centuries because Muslims no longer knew that individuals control themselves and are responsible for their own acts and their own lives and for the human world they make.


Brief commentary by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad,  Ph.D.
He is President of the Minaret of Freedom Institute
Note # 99.)        What the Muslims forgot was that ijtih‚d was among the sources of Islamic law. As I have said, Islamic law, Shari'ah, does exist. Until the about the 15th century, it was derived from four basic sources: the Qur'an, the practice of the Prophet (called Sunnah), consensus (Ijma, which might be consensus of the scholars or of the community, a debated point) and from the individual struggle for understanding, called ijtihad This last, it should be understood, is a general process which subsumes a number of specific processes. Al-'Alwani (1994) notes that as early as the time of the righteous Caliphs, Ali engaged in specific processes of ijtih‚d including qiy‚s (analogical reasoning), istisl‚b (consideration of circumstances), istihsŠn (juristic preference for a "more subtle" analogy over a "less relevant" one), and istisl‚h (consideration of the welfare of both the individual and society as a whole). Starting in the ninth century, some Muslim rulers had attempted to protect themselves from the independence of the legal scholars by "closing the door to ijtih‚d." In the fifteenth century this was achieved in the Sunni world by the device of declaring that there were no longer scholars of sufficient stature to challenge or revise the legal opinions of the giants of earlier generations. Henceforth, Muslims were expected to engage in taqlid (unquestioning imitation of previous practice). New circumstances would have to be dealt with by qiy‚s (analogy with earlier opinions) alone. This deprived the Islamic law of its dynamic element, turning it into a stagnant traditionalism unable to deal with a changing world. Such stagnation renders the law irrelevant, giving onlookers like Mrs. Lane the misperception that the Muslim world has no law at all.


Note# 100.)      What was, and in an important way still is, banned is the headscarf. Although commonly called hijab, which means veil or screen, it is really just a headcovering that does not hide the face. More than thirty years after Mrs. Lane wrote this incisive analysis of why the ban on the headscarf constitutes oppression of Muslim women, Iranian women, in defiance of a similar ban on the Iranian traditional covering called the chador, put on chadors en masse to symbolize their opposition to the shah's regime and to their desire to replace his dictatorship with rule of law, i.e., Shari'ah. As this book goes to press, the Turkish military is threatening the Turkish democracy to prevent the freely elected Islamic leadership from repealing laws that infringe upon the right of Turkish women to decide for themselves whether they will wear headscarves in certain public places. The French are also expelling girls who wear the headscarf to public schools, and a law banning the headscarf has been under discussion in Montreal. In Philadelphia women who cover their hair are not allowed to teach in the public schools.



Thank you for visiting with us, as-Salamoo Alayeekum (or, peace be with you)
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News Release

                   October, 12, 2001

                   Waco, TX -- On Monday, October 15 at 3 p.m. and Thursday, October
                   18 at 11 a.m., Antioch Community Church will hold a news
                   conference at the church located at 510 North 20th in Waco, Texas.

                   Jimmy Seibert, Senior Pastor of Antioch Community Church, will give
                   an update and answer questions for the first half hour regarding
                   Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer's detainment in Afghanistan. The
                   last half hour will be an opportunity for interviews with Antioch's
                   pastoral staff and friends of Dayna and Heather.

                   Here is a response to recent questions and the current updates:

                   1. When will the trial resume?

                   Within the last few hours we have heard from the attorney and he is
                   submitting his response to the accusations on Saturday, October 13th
                   in Kabul. He is expecting an answer or response between Monday
                   and Wednesday of the following week.

                   2. How are Dayna and Heather doing?

                   The attorney was able to communicate to us letters that Heather and
                   Dayna had written, and in those letters they seemed to be standing
                   strong in their faith and in their hope. As the British reporter who was
                   detained with them said, "There is an inner strength in them that I
                   have never seen before." We believe that inner strength is their love
                   for God and their trust in Him. We were all encouraged with the last
                   communication through the attorney given about twelve hours before
                   this news release.

                   3. What are you currently doing as a church in response to this
                   situation?

                   As a church, we are continuing our 24-hour prayer vigil. In addition,
                   Danny Mulkey, an Associate Pastor at Antioch Community Church, is
                   presently in Islamabad, Pakistan. We will continue to look to their
                   release and, at that point, will assist with their debriefing and
                   resettling back into the United States.

                   4. Is there any more information you can give us at this time?

                   For more information, please refer to the church web site
                   (www.antiochcc.net). Again, all interviews will be available at the
                   news conference.

                   We want to apologize if we have not been able to get back with
                   everyone as soon as they have called or wanted an interview. It has
                   been overwhelming for us and a new experience to try to learn how
                   to run a church as well as respond to the many requests that come
                   daily.

                   Thank you so much for all your interest regarding Dayna Curry and
                   Heather Mercer. Our desire has been in every way possible to
                   properly represent who they are, what they are all about, and to ask
                   people to pray for their release.