Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hats Off to the Imam

The Portage Daily Graphic has an interesting piece on Imam Bilal Philips, accused by the Philippines of “recruiting and inciting people to commit terrorism”.

Philips runs an online Islamic university he says has 180,000 students — out of Qatar, of all places — and has been banned at various times from the U.S., the U.K., Kenya, Germany and Australia. His YouTube videos explain the penalties for homosexuality under Islamic law. Needless to say, he has generated his share of controversy.

Oh, by the way, he’s back in Canada. From a citizenship standpoint at least, he’s one of ours. Which of course is neither my call, nor is it really any of my business.

But what I find interesting about Mr. Philips is not so much his theology, politics or his run-ins with various governments. What interests me is this bit:
“He said he is controversial because he preaches that Islam supercedes [sic] everything else.

‘Our message says to people, be Muslim first,’ he explained. ‘Meaning you are Muslim before you are Canadian. This is your faith. You are Muslim first and you are Canadian second.’

He said Western countries want religion to be subordinate to nationality.

‘We are saying no,’ he said. ‘We are Muslim by choice and we are Canadian by accident.’ ”
I can’t prove Philips is right about Western countries wanting religion to be subordinate to nationality, but I certainly wouldn’t accuse him of paranoia. It seems to be in the interest of governments everywhere (at least on the face of it) to have their citizens view themselves as patriots first and believers second.

Obedience to something bigger than the will of the Canadian government might create headaches for our politicians but from a belief standpoint, it’s far from illogical. In fact, assuming God exists, whether you think his name is Jesus, Yahweh, Allah or something else entirely, it’s the folks who put king and country first that have the cart before the horse, not Muslims.

Mind you, I have a sneaking suspicion that there are more Muslims at work finding the quickest and most efficient way to impose sharia law on Canadians than there are Christians working at imposing our values on Canadians against their will — a whole lot more. When Philips says he does not advocate for the execution of homosexuals in Germany because “Germany doesn’t have Islamic law”, you can almost hear him add under his breath, “but it soon will”.

And there’s the obvious detail that while many Canadian laws are quite un-Christian (those concerned with abortion come to mind, for instance), most are not explicitly anti-Christian (in the sense that while they permit abortion, the laws themselves do not compel Canadian women to have them). Because of this, the number of potential conflicts of interest between faith in Christ and Canadian law is currently minuscule.

Islam, on the other hand? Let’s just say that feminists, homosexuals and religious people of all sorts can reasonably anticipate some significant changes to their freedoms (or the state of their health) under sharia law.

And of course, I’m not sure people who believe in God’s sovereignty would say we are anything in life “by accident”. (Also, since Mr. Philips was born in Jamaica, calling himself “Canadian by accident” is just a tiny bit disingenuous.)

But hey, at least Philips has something right: if they must come into conflict, faith trumps citizenship every time.

So hats off to the Imam.

1 comment :

  1. This sounds like misdirected reason. It is amazing how rationality and reason, even though considered to be valuable assets, traits and abilities can lead us down the wrong path when used in isolation from faith and belief in a moral God. Below are some informative and fascinating links dealing with that problem.