Given that Islam treats women as less than human — as fields to be used as Islamic men choose — it’s no wonder that Islamic countries fare poorly.
The report below by Josh Sayles appears in today’s Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. It is a follow-up report to the original report (“Islam 101? BJE Course on radicalism labeled as Basics- July 30, 2010) in the Jewish News about the “Islam 101″ course taught by Carl Goldberg and sponsored by the local chapter of the Bureau of Jewish Education. You may also recall the op-ed Dr. Jasser wrote, “A Course on Islam”, (July 30, 2010) special for the Jewish News on Goldberg’s course available at this link.
2] Dr. Jasser appeared on today’s Dennis Miller radio program to discuss recent revelations that the controversial “Ground Zero” Islamic Center project is seeking a $5 million grant for contruction from the 9/11 Lower Manhattan development fund, the new TSA screening kerfluffle, and the Oklahoma question 755 against sharia law. Listen to the interview at Dennis Miller’s homepage (subscribers only). — “Jasser on Chutzpah” – We will try to obtain the interview for posting at our site soon.
A Course on Islam reignites community concern
November 24, 2010
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
by Josh Sayles, Staff Writer
Despite concerns expressed last summer by community leaders including Temple Kol Ami’s Rabbi B. Charles Herring and Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Bill Straus about Dr. Carl Goldberg’s views on Islam, the Bureau of Jewish Education brought Goldberg back this fall to teach about the religion.
“I obviously don’t make the decisions of how to manage the Bureau of Jewish Education, nor would I expect (BJE Director) Aaron (Scholar) to attempt to manage the affairs of the ADL,” said Straus. “I am disappointed, though. It’s been obvious to me for years that Carl made up his mind (about Islam) a long time ago and is unwilling to hear any side of this issue other than the one he insists on embracing.”
Goldberg, who is a Realtor, is Jewish and has a doctorate in Russian history, recently taught a six-part weekly course titled “Islam and the Quran” Oct. 13-Nov. 17 through the Bureau of Jewish Education in Scottsdale; this reporter attended four of the six classes. Goldberg taught a similar class at the bureau, “Islam 101,” last summer (“Islam 101? BJE course on radicalism labeled as basics,” Jewish News, July 30).
In both BJE courses, Goldberg highlighted dozens of controversial passages in the Quran, such as: “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward;” and, “Women are your fields; go then, into your fields whence you please.”
Goldberg emphasized to both his students and to Jewish News that the theories he presents are not his, and that he gets his information “from the most esteemed Muslim scholars of the 20th century,” such as Sayyid Qutb, Abul Maududi and Yusuf al-Qaradawi; he also frequently cites Robert Spencer. He said when he speaks of the dangers of Islam he is not talking about all Muslims, only those who follow Islamic doctrines.
Islamic doctrines are the principal foundations of the religion.
For the fourth session of “Islam and the Quran,” held Nov. 3, Scholar invited Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a local Muslim, to be guest lecturer. Goldberg and Jasser have fundamental differences in their approaches to Islam.
Scholar told Jewish News those differences were of little concern to him. “I don’t care whether people agree with each other,” he said. “(Jasser’s) was a viewpoint we needed to hear.”
Jasser, an internist, is the founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy and believes that Islam needs severe reform. He advocates for the separation of “mosque and state” and calls for other moderate Muslims to speak out against Shariah (Islamic) law as a form of government. Jasser admitted that there are not many Muslims, local or otherwise, willing to publicly support his ideas.Goldberg rejects Jasser’s attempts at reform as “not viable” and says that pious Muslims must, at Allah’s orders, blindly follow the Quran – interpreted as the literal word of Allah – which is why passages like the aforementioned one are fuel for terrorism. Jasser agrees that there are problematic verses in the Quran, but rejects Goldberg’s views on Islam as “fossilized.”
Their differences were on display during Jasser’s talk. He began by telling the 17 students that he had an hour to deprogram them of everything they had been learning, and then promptly passed around handouts that read, “‘Carl Goldberg’s’ Islam is uni-dimensional.”
Meanwhile, Goldberg sat in the corner quietly taking notes and chuckling softly every time Jasser quipped a zinger in his direction. Goldberg spent much of the next class rebutting Jasser’s presentation.
“It’s just been beyond frustrating to see how the comments (Goldberg) makes today … about Islam and Muslims and the Quran are exactly the same type of ones he (said) in 2003,” Jasser told Jewish News. “There has been absolutely no progress … from his perspective of what the solution is.
“The only reason I (lectured in) this course is because … I think that his students deserve to hear a different perspective.”
“I’m not in the business of providing solutions,” Goldberg responded. “I’m in the business of providing the truth about Islam so that people can become educated and learn about it. The solutions will be left up to the American people in an open discussion.”
Jasser said Goldberg’s explanation was inadequate.
“For him to … say that it is appropriate, in a setting where America’s No. 1 fear currently is the security threat from radical Islam, to present these problems without solutions is just dangerous,” he said. “It’s like sitting down and talking to patients about cancer without giving them any hope of any solution or any treatment.”
Jasser went on to claim that Goldberg believed “that every Muslim that reads the Quran piously is a possible enemy of this country.”
“(The Quran) says that non-Muslims are the vilest of beasts, the lowest of animals, the worst of creatures, and that non-Muslims are your enemy,” Goldberg replied. “(When) you believe you’re reading the literal word of God, what do you do with it?”
Additionally, in his Nov. 10 class, Goldberg said of secular Muslims, “They may not read the Quran, they may not go to mosque, but they hate the Jews. That much they’ve been taught.”
“That statement is offensive and not true of the Muslims I know,” said Jasser. “He’s basically saying that the secular Muslims are like the Fatah, and the Islamists are like Hamas. That paradigm may be true in the West Bank and Gaza, but to apply that to 1.5 billion Muslims is absurd.”
Scholar, too, distanced himself from Goldberg’s statement about secular Islam. “That is not a view that I would support in any way,” he said.
Scholar said that the purpose of the class was intended to be “instructional, not indoctrinating. We really believe that (our students) are smart. … Let them make up their minds.”
“Give Carl some credit,” Scholar added later. “He may be overzealous sometimes, but he believes in what he’s doing.”
When Jewish News asked Scholar if Goldberg would be teaching about Islam for the BJE next semester, he said only, “Just watch our class offerings. That’s all. The bureau doesn’t have to deal in controversy, we don’t have to deal in negativism. We’re not indoctrinators, we’re teachers, and we want to teach.”
Goldberg said that if he had the choice of picking a guest lecturer, he would have invited Azra Hussain, co-founder and director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona. He said that she is more closely aligned than Jassser with mainstream Islam and would have a more difficult time refuting problem passages from the Quran.
Hussain, shocked Goldberg would want her to speak in his class, said that his claims were not wrong, “but he makes it sound as if I’m avoiding (discussing the Quran),” she said. “I’m not avoiding it. It’s just that’s not what I’ve been asked to do.
“When you go and talk about Christianity 101, nobody’s asking you to sit down and talk about the books of the Bible and the New Testament,” she said. “I don’t do presentations about the Quran ever. … I do an Islam 101 presentation, telling about practices, belief, holidays, terminology (and) demographics.”
Scholar said that for the second semester in a row, Goldberg received “very positive” marks from students.
“It’s a very necessary course to have because we are at war, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, with the radical extremists of Islam,” said Honey Levin, one of Goldberg’s students. “They have stated over and over as they (fly) into our buildings and as they try to kill us that it’s all done in the name of Allah.”
Levin, like several other students Jewish News spoke to, said that she respects Jasser greatly and was thrilled he came to speak, but disagrees with his views on Islam.
“I’d love to believe his interpretation of the Quran, but it doesn’t hold water with the people that are trying to kill us,” she said.
Dr. Lance Cohen, a student who said he knew nothing of Islam before attending the course, said he also falls “more in Goldberg’s camp.”
“(He) has his biases … but what Goldberg’s trying to sell, I’m buying,” he said. “One of the main themes that Carl kept hammering home is that (Islam) is more than just a religion, it’s an ideology. I think that’s absolutely crucial to understand. Islamic thought is all about controlling society, controlling the people that are in it, waging war against infidels and converting as many people to Islam as possible.”
Of several students Jewish News spoke to who lean toward Jasser, Barbara Davis was the only one willing to go on the record. She said she attended the class because she thought it was important to hear the other side, but “there’s no question (Goldberg) has an agenda. It’s a frightening agenda, and I think that most people in the class were on his wavelength.”
“His agenda was to ‘educate’ us – and I’m putting the word ‘educate’ in quotes – to the fact that there is a very large group of people, maybe one half of the (world’s) 1.5 billion Muslims, who are set on making the world into a place that (operates) on Shariah law, and that the rest of the Muslim world is either oblivious to it or doesn’t care,” she said.
“I know Dr. Goldberg feels that it is a very dangerous situation out there, and maybe he’s right. I’m not saying there aren’t elements that are dangerous. But … he keeps pointing to the fact that there’s this large group that wants to take over the world and you better look out. I felt like the whole course was, ‘You better look out.’”