Belief Beat

Belief Beat

Could American Muslims Take a Page From The Book of Mormon?

Mormons and Muslims: brothers from another mother? Think about it: Judaism and Christianity updated by a controversial new prophet, the prohibitions on alcohol, the historical polygamy, homophobia, etc. By some estimates — without a U.S. Census asking about religion, this is always a tricky thing to nail down — their numbers in America are even comparable, somewhere around 5 million each.

These days, it would behoove America’s Muslims to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a group that’s no stranger to dealing with bad publicity, ranging from historical violence to present-day fundamentalists like Warren Jeffs. But nowadays, it’s more common to hear LDS folks chuckling about things like Broadway’s wildly successful “Book of Mormon” musical and launching feel-good campaigns like “I’m a Mormon” (borrowed from the Mac & PC guys?), rather than getting defensive about their presidential aspirations, Prop. 8 funding and persistent depictions of polygamy in “Sister Wives,” “Big Love,” and “Love Times Three,” etc. It’s a savvy public relations shift.


I was reminded of this at a Seattle press conference yesterday, as the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced it was petitioning the Department of Justice to investigate a disturbing pattern of anti-Muslim experts and information at FBI training programs. (The Seattle Times and the AP were also there, if you’re interested in the details.)

They had me, and then they lost me — by emphasizing that according to the FBI’s own data, “from 1980-2005, only 6 percent of terrorism in America was committed by Muslims.” I’m a bit of a numbers gal, so a quick glance at the FBI spreadsheet pointed out obvious shenanigans: it includes non-violent crimes like “vandalism” and “arson,” and most of them don’t have any injuries, let alone casualties.  If you just look at the cases that hurt or killed people, obviously Muslims shoot to the top, with the 9/11 attacks alone. Also, it’s ridiculous to include the 1980s — the U.S. was still friendly with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden back then, for crying out loud, and England was anxious about the IRA, not al-Qaeda. Plus, the numbers seem incomplete for 2004-2005, and obviously it’s highly relevant to consider the past six years (which aren’t on this spreadsheet), as well as the terrorist plots that were foiled before they could become incidents.


That’s not to say that CAIR and other organizations shouldn’t keep advocating for religious freedom and civil rights for Muslims, and fighting against Islamophobia in law enforcement. But, be careful how you make your case. And maybe expend at least as much energy alerting the media to positive stories in your community.

In other words, as Aman Ali writes for CNN’s Belief Blog, maybe it’s time for U.S. Muslims to quit playing the victim card?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.


Comments read comments(4)
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posted October 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

What do I think? I think it’s a great article, except for the inclusion of the term “homophobia.” Look up the word “homophobia” in any dictionary. Heck, even Wikipedia gets it right. I can’t imagine any definition of that word that accurately represents the position of most Latter-day Saints, much less the Church of Jesus Christ itself.

People toss the word “homophobia” around in an attempt to silence those who recognize homosexuality as the sin that it is, and it’s sad to see that it often works. I only hope that enough people can recognize that they’re being “newspeaked” into submission.

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Mormon Beliefs

posted October 5, 2011 at 11:38 am

It is disconcerting to me, too, that we are being outbred by the Muslims. As for me and my house, we will do our part and double our procreative efforts.

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Nicole Neroulias

posted October 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Mormon Beliefs — do you mean Mormons or just non-Muslims are “being outbred by the Muslims,” and can you back that up with facts?

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posted October 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

It’s not a big secret that there’s a major movement that has been in place since satan was cast down to deter peoples faith in The One God.I’m not so sure if it’s the people or the whisperers who whisper to mankind trying to misguide.All praise was and always will be for The One Without Blemish.The entire creation bears witness to His Greatness willingly or unwillingly.Who sends down the rain and nourishes the creation?Who causes the grass to die in winter then comeback green again in spring.Can He not do the same thing with a human form.Look at His signs they are all around us.Your fingernails and the way your hair grows shows the truth this is not just an accident.Adore your Creator and worship Him alone without partner after all that is what we were put here for.Don’t let death catch you before you realize this, because then it is to late.

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