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Islam critic decries culture of fear in Conservative Forum talk


Darwish

A Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley speaker claimed that it is not the Muslim people but the ideology of Islam that cultivates a climate of fear, with the promise of death to nonbelievers and even those who call Islam into question.

Speaking at the forum’s June 3 meeting, Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American former Muslim who is now a Christian, said much of the Quran, considered by some the Muslim equivalent of the Bible, is replete with orders to kill non-Muslims.

The daughter of an Egyptian general killed in the 1956 conflict with Israel, Darwish said she converted to Christianity after relocating to the United States in the late 1970s.

Forceful and plainspoken, the pro-Israel, pro-women’s rights speaker explained the basic differences between the two religions.

“In Islam, you are a slave to God,” she said. “In Christianity, you are a child of God.”

The author and activist, speaking to a full house at the IFES Portuguese Hall in Mountain View, further criticized Islamic countries, where she said the laws always favor the word of men over women.

Darwish’s assertions are highly controversial. Muslims dismiss her criticisms as myths and falsehoods, maintaining that Islam is a religion of peace, not violence. Further, they allege that Quran passages that promote killing of nonbelievers are taken out of context, with self-defense misinterpreted as seeking to harm others.

Darwish said there will never be peace in the Middle East because Israel is surrounded by Muslim nations. The goal of these nations, she said, is to annihilate Israel.

She suggested that the Obama administration has not only become sympathetic to the Muslim faith, but that many officials support it. She doesn’t understand why more Americans are not speaking out against what she views as an outrageous policy. Her main example involved the recent release of U.S. prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban detainees incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. Some in the military have labeled Bergdahl a deserter who should be tried for treason.

Controversy

Last month, the pro-Israel iFest at UC Irvine barred Darwish from speaking after pressure from opponents, who she said cast her as “an Islamophobe and an extremist.”

The group instrumental in ousting Darwish, Orange County Hillel, said its primary reason for opposing her appearance was security concerns.

Darwish emphasized that her criticism is not of individuals of the Muslim faith.

“Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met are Muslims,” she said, though she speculated that those Muslims proclaiming nonviolence are those who haven’t read the Quran.

The majority of the Middle East has declared war on the United States, according to Darwish. She expressed surprise and concern that the Muslim threat is not taken more seriously. She pointed to the 9/11 Memorial in New York, which makes no mention of Islam or Jihad.

“What does that mean?” she asked. “It means terrorism worked on us. America is a country divided against itself. One half wants to know the truth, the other half is in denial.”

Darwish said the country needs to recognize its true enemy. She said America should not fight to defend Muslim nations – U.S. presence is not only unappreciated, it’s disdained.

“There are 54 Muslim countries that are perfectly capable of defending themselves,” Darwish concluded.

The Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley’s mission statement is “to promote the principles of American liberty through education. … (W)e are the place for conservatives from Silicon Valley and beyond to gather, share ideas and become empowered.”

For more information, visit theconservativeforum.com.

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