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Missionaries et al. SINGLE PAGE

Introductory and General Information
  Christian Missionary Treatment of Islaam
Source: Prepared for Spubs by an anonymous writer
Article ID : MSS020002  [22523]  
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The methodology used by these authors is further described by Norman Daniel: "All writers tended - more or less - to cling to fantastic tales about Islam and its Prophet... The use of false evidence to attack Islam was all but universal." (ibid, p.267) He goes on to explain: "At the worst there was the assertion of the fantastic, and its repetition without discrimination; at the best there was the selection of only those facts that served the purpose of controversy." (ibid, p.268)

All of this comes as no surprise. "Islamic institutions," Daniel continues, "were treated as selectively as the life of Muhammad... Yet the more sober accounts of Islam resemble the more sober biographies of the Prophet in that actual facts were manipulated by selection and omission, by exaggeration and invention and misapplication." (ibid, p.269)

A further passage from Islam and the West will help to shed more light on the treatment which was being meted out to Islam: "The Christian canon of Muslim behaviour, that is, the received Christian opinion as to what Muslims actually did, was partly formed by the tendency of misconceptions to snowball, and to confirm as well as to add to one another. Mere repetition is enough to bring unshakeable conviction; and once it had been asserted that Islamic teaching was sexually lax, every example of laxity would be noticed from that moment, and, once notified, attributed to the doctrine. If we suppose that there were an equal number of similar offences committed by Christians and by Muslims in any given time, in the former case they would be seen as having occurred in spite of the doctrine, so that each individual case would be an exception, and in the latter it would be assumed that doctrine was the cause of whatever happened." (ibid, p.270)

This is a very acute observation that is still valid today. Whatever a Muslim is seen to be doing, reflects upon Islam itself: terrorism, murder, violence, wherever these occur with possible Muslim involvement, the automatic response is that it is because Islam permits it, rather even encourages it. All of this without onlookers making the slightest referral to the religious teachings of Islam itself. People seem to take it for granted that an alien society (which for many is what Islam is) is dangerous, if not hostile. Apparently (and history has shown this to be the case) under the pressure of their sense of danger, whether real or imagined, a deformed image of their enemy's beliefs and intentions takes shape in men's minds. This invariably contrasts with what the other party actually believe and what they say they believe, but by this stage this has little effect in changing people's preconceived ideas; the enemy must not be allowed to speak for itself. (ibid, p.12, slightly adapted)

Under such circumstances, only those matters favourable to one's own argument are broadcast and those favourable to the other party either ignored or distorted. Norman Daniel further explains how this occurred in regards to Islam: "Not only in treating the life of Muhammad and the sexual institutions of Islam, but in all aspects of that religion, facts were exaggerated, sometimes out of little or nothing, and were often distorted almost beyond recognition; sound information was regularly discarded for unsound. Only in matters apparently favourable to Christianity was a very high degree of accuracy achieved, as, for example, in treating the Qur'anic beliefs about Christ and his mother." (ibid, p.270)


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