If you uphold the Five Pillars of Islam and believe in the divine inspiration of the Koran and the reliability of the Hadith, I’d love to hear your responses to these questions.
The Islamic State has demanded that non-Muslims convert or die. Do you categorically and without qualification denounce the practice of forced conversions? Do you agree that conversion at the edge of the sword cannot possibly be true conversion?
All radical Muslim groups want to enforce Sharia Law. Do you stand against the implementation of Sharia?
There is a famous Hadith which states, “The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: ‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”
Do you categorically and without qualification denounce this tradition which allegedly goes back to Muhammad?
The concept of suicide bombers being shaheeds (martyrs for Allah) is widespread these days among radical Muslims.
Do you reject the idea that a suicide bomber who kills others – especially civilians – in the name of Allah is guaranteed a place in Paradise?
As you know, non-Muslims living in some Muslim countries have been reduced to severe second-class citizen status (dhimmitude, in full) and forced to pay the oppressive jizya tax. In some Muslim countries, they can be jailed or killed simply if someone accuses them of blaspheming Muhammad.
Do you categorically and without qualification denounce these practices and welcome non-Muslims to live as complete equals in your countries?
In quite a few Muslim countries, conversion is forbidden under penalty of death, which is obviously a fundamental assault on religious freedoms.
Do you categorically and without qualification denounce this practice and allow for free and open religious interaction as we have, for example, in the United States, with no corporal penalties for conversion?
We often hear horror stories of little girls being married to older men, along with honor killings of women who allegedly brought disrepute on their families.
Do you categorically and without qualification denounce the practices of child brides and honor killings?
There are many more questions I could ask, and I do so in the interest of understanding more than argument, since I would love to debate and discuss the deeper issues of our faith with those who renounce radical Islam.
The question many of us have here in the West is very simple: Is radical Islam normative Islam?
I look forward to reading your responses, and I encourage non-Muslim readers of this open letter to share it widely with your friends so as to reach the maximum number of moderate Muslims.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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