10.14.2016 ________________________________________

There’s Only One of Me

To the Editor:

Poor Ken Weyler, so put upon that he believes there must be “two men named Azzi” who’ve attacked him for being intolerant and ignorant http://tinyurl.com/h9tf26d).

There’s only one of me. I’m Robert Azzi and I’m here to challenge Weyler.

First, there’s no Islamic concept that says “[taqiyya] is acceptable and encouraged as long as it advances Islam.” Weyler did not read that in the Qur’an. 

Taqiyya is if a person’s about to be persecuted for being Muslim then the concealment, or denial, of belief is allowable — IF that concealment does not injure someone else.

As Noah Feldman of Harvard’s Law School says, “taqiyya is dissimulation when one is being oppressed or tortured or having one’s views banned, a bit like Jesuit dispensation to lie under oath when your life is in danger.” Today, however, taqiyya’s become a frequently invoked term used by Islamaphobes to try and discredit Muslims — especially Muslims who’re perceived as having audiences responsive to dialogue.

You can’t discredit me.

Second, Weyler’s suggestion that all American Muslim citizens — simply by virtue of being Muslim — are terrorist sponsors and unworthy of support is patently untrue.

Just ask the parents of Humayun Khan — or ask Kareem Abdul Jabbar or Rep.Keith Ellison — are they unworthy Americans? Were the Muslims who fought and died in every American War since our nation was founded unworthy? Were the Muslims who died inside the twin towers — and those who died as first responders — unworthy? Are the memories of the perhaps 25-30% of slaves who were Muslim who built this country unworthy of being acknowledged?

Neither Weyler nor any other bigot gets to decide who’s worthy. Weyler doesn’t get to decide whether Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Mormanism, Zoroastrian or any other religion is legitimate — their adherents do.

What’s truly unworthy is an elected representative of the people spewing ignorance and bigotry.

Third, what’s his authoritative source that “the contributions that the faithful Muslims make to support their Mosque must have 10 percent go to ‘Jihadis’ (whatever that means)?” I’ve never heard that — nor has anyone I’ve asked – and that’s not taqiyya; or taqiyya about taqiyya!

On the other hand, it’s clear Weyler’s never read the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2). If he had perhaps he’d know that no matter what the federal government or the states (or, heaven forbid, Muslims) might wish to legislate they have to stay within the foundational limits of the United States Constitution. That’s been affirmed over and over, including in Marbury v. Madison (1803) and in Cooper v. Aaron (1958) where the Supreme Court rejected attempts by bigots and segregationists in Arkansas to nullify Brown v. Board of Education.

A final word: the Qur’an does not instruct “all Muslims that they must strive to impose Sharia Law wherever they live.” Most Muslims, as with most other Americans from various cultures, religions and traditions, living in America fully acknowledge, support, vote and pay taxes to support this country and it’s offensive to suggest otherwise.

When Weyler says “[Islam] is an ideology posing as a religion. Islam is intolerant and deceitful, and its adherents are ordered to overthrow our way of life and to replace it with ‘sharia’ (sic) law” he is being as bigoted, deplorable, and as incontestably ignorant as were southern segregationists who stood before schoolhouse doorways denying entrance to students whose color they didn’t like, who stood before polling places denying the franchise to those unlike themselves.

Peter Beinart, in Israel’s Ha’aretz, wrote, “It’s become commonplace to hear Americans with no background in Islam—no academic or religious training, no familiarity with its texts—expound on the meaning of concepts like “jihad” and “sharia.” If American Jews heard gentiles with no background in Judaism declaiming this way about our tradition, we’d be irate. If these commentators displayed not merely ignorance about Judaism, but hostility, we’d call them bigots.”

Call them bigots.

I challenge Weyler to debate these issues in front of his Kingston constituents before the election. We can do it face-to-face in front of constituents in Kingston or on seacoastonline.com EDGE radio.

There’s only one of me — I’m available, and I’ve got an hour.

No notes. No papers. No electronics: Just Weyler’s MIT educated brain — and mine.

(the only) Robert Azzi

First published: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20161013/theres-only-one-of-me