Islam’s Ugly Side

CNN currently is running a series of articles about Islam in America, in conjunction with an investigative feature about “Generation Islam” by Christine Amanpour that will air on CNN tonight.

So far, the articles seem to have had the general intent of challenging the stereotype that American Muslims are mostly a bunch of violent zealots.

And clearly the large majority of American Muslims aren’t. But as demonstrated by this video of a terrified Muslim teen from Ohio tearfully explaining why she believes her father intends to kill her for converting to Christianity, it’s simply not possible to portray Islam as a “religion of peace” that can be situated comfortably in the American mainstream.

Media reports indicate that the Muslim father denies his daughter’s charge that he plans to take her life in an “honor killing” because of her conversion to Christianity. And certainly he could have no intention of committing such a heinous act.

But it’s not fanciful on the part of Fathima Rifqa Bary — who fled the family home in Ohio last month to seek refuge with a Christian couple in Florida — to believe that her father might intend to do so; the death penalty remains the punishment for apostasy in some Muslim jurisdictions. And honor killings of Muslim women by other family members are by no means unknown in North America.

Bary bravely declares in the video that she’s willing to be martyred for her Christian faith, should it come to that. But she’s overwhelmed by fear over this possibility. And she insists that non-Muslims who would dismiss her fears as unfounded “don’t understand” the ugly reality that these sort of killings are regarded as acceptable and indeed as virtuous by many devout Muslims.

Like it or not, that’s another aspect of the contemporary face of Islam.

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

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