Mike Huckabee has generally cultivated a "nice guy" image. He's a conservative but when he ran for President he made sure to portray himself as a different kind of leader, one who is conservative but "is not angry about it." It's been paying off; The Daily Show frequently has him on, as does Colbert and Conan, and he generally charms the audience. However, I'm starting to see it more and more as a facade, given his anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments of late. He recently got into a bit of hot water when he made some nasty comments on Islam during his Fox and Friends appearance .
Recently the Fox and Friends team was discussing a small-town news story (video in article), of two local churches that let Muslims use the building while their mosque was under construction. No big deal, right? It's been done before with Muslims and Jews and is a great way to build interfaith bridges between Americans.
They called Mike Huckabee onto the show, given that he's an ordained Southern Baptist minister. Well apparently he wasn't having any of it, asking what Christians are thinking, and that Muslims "believe Jesus Christ and all the people who follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated." ... “Should the church be rented out to show adult movies on the weekend? Where does this end?”
The man appears completely tone deaf, because when the host asked him if he was "likening Islam to pornography," he said, "No, and I'm sure that some bloggers will say that, and I'll read at least 300 blogs that will say that by noon today. But I'm just saying ... [Islam is] the antithesis of the Gospel of Christ." (emphasis mine)
Well, he's dead wrong.
Let's dissect this one bit at a time. Unlike Judaism and other religions, Muslims revere Jesus (peace be upon him) quite highly, equally with Muhammad himself (pbuh). He is the Messiah, the son of a Virgin named Mary, the one who God sent to guide the Children of Israel, and will return some day to kill the Anti-Christ. Almost all of this is in the Quran itself:
"Say: 'We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is to Him that we surrender ourselves.'" (2:136)
"Behold! The angels said: 'O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and in (the company of) those nearest to God.'" (3:45)
The stories in the Quran and Hadith show Jesus in a very similar light to the way the Christians do. In the Quran, Jesus speaks from the cradle and, with God's permission, cures lepers and the blind. (Quran 5:110) God also states in the Quran: "We gave (Jesus) the Gospel and put compassion and mercy into the hearts of his followers." (57:27)
As to Christians, Muslims consider them fellow "People of the Scripture," those who also share part of God's revelation to humanity, the Gospel. Jesus was a messenger of God, and he brought the Gospel (known in the Quran as the "Injeel"). God says in the Quran:
"And you will find that the closest people in friendship to the believers are those who say, 'We are Christian.' This is because they have priests and monks among them, and they are not arrogant." (5:82)
This whole "Christians are infidels" quote that Huckabee said is nothing more than an ugly stereotype from some bad Hollywood movies. The Quran refers to the Christians and Jews as "Ahl ul kitaab," (People of the Scripture). When someone bombed an Egyptian church around Christmas, thousands of Egyptian Muslims responded by attending church services in order to serve as human shields in case of another attack. They held candlelight vigils outside and put crosses on their facebook pages as well.
I'm wondering how Huckabee, an ordained Christian minister, is so presumptuous about what Muslims believe. Given that Muslims and Christians have been cooperating in the middle east for Millenia and in places like Egypt today.
Let's look to the last 2 weeks. A photo has been spreading all over Twitter of Egyptian Christians making a human chain to protect Muslims from police attack as they were praying in Tahrir square on the Friday Mubarak was thrown out. On Sunday, Egyptian Muslims returned the favor, protecting them while they had prayer services. This is a great moment for Muslim-Christian unity in Egypt.
I suppose this isn't the first time for him. Back in 2007, I went to his campaign website, and when you click on the Issues link (now dead), you got this:
I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. Radical Islamic fascists have declared war on our country and our way of life. They have sworn to annihilate each of us who believe in a free society all in the name of an impersonal god. This war is not a conventional war and these terrorists are not a conventional enemy. (emphasis mine)
You can bash terrorists all you want, but when you start bashing their god, well, you're kinda gonna offend more than just terrorists.
CAIR, the Council for American-Islamic Relations, has started an email campaign , asking people to contact Mike Huckabee and his producers to ask that he apologize for his remarks and meet with Muslim leaders.
P.S. CAIR also pointed out that Glenn Beck, recently promoted the bizarre theory that Islam is a "vehicle" of Satan and that Muslim leaders in Egypt and Iran are trying to bring the Antichrist to Earth. (MediaMatters link)