The following was written by British author, Babs Barron, a chartered psychologist in independent practice in the UK. Published here with her permission:
However, they will fail utterly unless they educate themselves fully about how Islam perceives other belief systems and their social and cultural mores.
According to the latest census data, there were 33.2 million Christians, 263,346 Jews, and 2,660,116 Muslims in the UK in 2012. One may assume that those who define themselves in terms of their religious beliefs practice those beliefs although to varying degrees. We are told also that the Muslim population is the fastest growing in the UK, which should be a cause for concern, given the supremacist nature of Islam and its declared intention to subsume every other belief system to it.
There is also much discussion about whether Islam can be moderate given the hate-filled verses in the Qu'ran which instruct Muslims how to behave towards and regard non-Muslims. This has led me to examine the texts of the central prayers in each of the three Abrahamic religions as to whether they can be indicators of the intentions of each towards the others and to the wider society.
Orthodox Jews recite the Shema in Hebrew. The Shema is an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God. The obligation to recite the Shema is separate from the obligation to pray and a Jew is obligated to say Shema in the morning and at night (Deut. 6:7). There follows a translation of it, from an Orthodox Jewish site. Jews are forbidden to write the name of God in full, hence the dashes in the words below:
"Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One.
(Recite the following verse in an undertone: )
Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.
You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.
And it will be, if you will diligently obey My commandments which I enjoin upon you this day, to love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, I will give rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be sated. Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them. For then the L-rd's wrath will flare up against you, and He will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce, and you will swiftly perish from the good land which the L-rd gives you. Therefore, place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, to speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates — so that your days and the days of your children may be prolonged on the land which the L-rd swore to your fathers to give to them for as long as the heavens are above the earth.
The L-rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and tell them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to attach a thread of blue on the fringe of each corner. They shall be to you as tzizit, and you shall look upon them and remember all the commandments of the L-rd and fulfill them, and you will not follow after your heart and after your eyes by which you go astray — so that you may remember and fulfill all My commandments and be holy to your G-d. I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d; I, the L-rd, am your G-d. True.
Note the conditional nature of the second and third paragraphs, taken from Deuteronomy, and how the prayer reminds the one who prays it what will happen if s/he fails to love God and follow His commandments. For all that, however, there is no threat of hellfire for those who stray — the worst the Jewish God threatens is famine.
Turning now to the nearest Christian equivalent, the Lord's Prayer, taken from Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.
"Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen."
There are commonalities in the Lord's Prayer and the Shema, notably in the declaration that there is one God. One notable difference, however, is the lack of what Carl Rogers would call "conditions of worth" in the latter — there is no threat of famine or anything else if Christians stray from their path. Even so, both the Shema and the Lord's Prayer are essentially loving — the former exhorting belief, the latter assuming it.
If we compare the essential prayers of the first two Abrahamic religions — Judaism and Christianity — with Islam, however, we see fundamental differences. Muslims are commanded to say the salat five times a day as part of their prayer ritual. I have reproduced part of it below, with what I believe to be the most important part in both Arabic and English. The recitation of it is very strictly circumscribed and Muslims are commanded to perform specific actions throughout it.
"Oh Allah, we ask you for help and seek your forgiveness, and we believe in you and have trust in you, and we praise you in the best way and we thank you and we are not ungrateful to you, and we forsake and turn away from the one who disobeys you. O Allah, we worship you only and pray to you and prostrate ourselves before you, and we run towards you and serve you, and we hope to receive your mercy, and we fear your punishment. Surely, the disbelievers will receive your punishment.
"اللهم إنا نستعينك , ونؤمن بك , ونتوكل عليك , ونثى عليك الخير , ولا نكفرك اللهم إياك نعبد ولك نصلى ونسجد , وإليك نسعى ونحفد , نرجو رحمتك , ونخشى عذابك , إن عذابك الجد بالكفار ملحق , اللهم عذب كفرة أهل الكتاب الذين يصدون عن سبيلك
"Translation: O Allah, verily we seek your help, we believe in you, we put our trust in you and we praise you and we are not ungrateful to you. O Allah, you alone we worship and to you we pray and prostrate, for your sake we strive. We hope for your mercy and fear your punishment, for your punishment will certainly reach the disbelievers. O Allah, punish the infidels of the People of the Book who are preventing others from following your way (emphasis added).
Note the obsequious nature of the relationship with Allah, to fend off his wrath, and which is very much at the submissive polarity of the authoritarian personality spectrum. There is also "..we forsake and turn away from one who disobeys you..." The commandment not to befriend the infidel can be found in the Qu'ran.
Note also "Surely the disbelievers will receive your punishment" which has no counterpart in the Shema or the Lord's Prayer and smacks of the spitefulness of pernicious envy to say the least, and particularly, "O Allah, punish the infidels of the People of the Book who are preventing others from following your way," which underlines the supremacy of Islam in Muslim beliefs and the bitterness that Jews and Christians not only refuse to recognise that but discourage others from recognising it. This has no equivalent in the Jewish and Christian prayers, and it sets the tone for Islam's oppositional — and as we are now seeing, violent — relationship with Judaism and Christianity.
The salat is explicit that no true and mutualistic relationship should exist between Muslim and non-Muslim.
Do even moderate Muslims who attend mosque regularly say these prayers? If they are at all aware of what they are saying, do they believe that what they are saying dictates how they should behave? If not, why are they saying the salat? Even if the Muslim is not aware of its meaning, the supremacist attitude it represents has very probably been inculcated into him/her since childhood and is all of a piece with the hatred of Jews, Christians and all other faiths than Islam, which is absorbed from early years in a Muslim environment.
In the light of all this, how, without hypocrisy, can a Muslim who says salat five times a day, or even only occasionally, engage honestly in interfaith meetings on equal, mutualistic terms with Christians and Jews and other faiths?
The answer is, of course, that he cannot. As the British Islamist preacher Haitham Al-Haddad has noted, not only is the role of Interfaith a deception, it is a deception that is crucial:
"Of course, as Muslims, we believe that this co-existence cannot take place unless they are living under the umbrella of al-Islam ... these visions and strategies are meant to be for a short run, means within fifty years, something like this.
"The far ultimate aim for Muslims is to have Islam governing the whole world, Islamisation of the whole globe. This is the ultimate aim of any Muslim and of all communities, Muslim communities.
"But we are not talking about that at the moment. We are talking about the immediate goals. So, in terms of immediate goals we need this peaceful co-existence, and they claim that they are promoting it and we need to take it from there."
This has also been posted on Inquiry Into Islam here for sharing.