Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam

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SILENT NO MORE; Confronting America’s False Images of Islam

In his recently released book Silent No More: Confronting America’s False Images of Islam, Paul Findley, a 22-year veteran of Congress, chronicles his long, far-flung trail of discovery through the World Of Islam: the false stereotypes that linger in the minds of the American people, the corrective actions that the leaders of America’s seven million Muslims are undertaking, and the community’s remarkable progress in mainstream politics.

It is an indispensable source for Muslims and for anyone who speaks, writes, or worries about human rights, interfaith harmony and global cooperation. With precise citations, Findley, a Christian, debunks in his narration, the stereotypes of Islam. The author of four other books, two of them on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Findley draws on his decade-long experience as the senior Republican on the House of Representatives subcommittee on the Middle East, his personal knowledge of the region and its leaders, as well as his nationwide acquaintance with U.S. Muslims.

He writes: “Most Americans have never read a verse from the Qur’an, nor met a person they knew to be Muslim. Their distorted images of Islam come from snippets of television news and headlines that falsely link Islam with terrorism and the degradation of women. They have no awareness of Islamic principles and beliefs—monotheism, peace, charity, compassion, interfaith tolerance, women’s rights—common principles that should bind Muslims, Christians, and Jews together.” The book is published by Amana Publications and is available from the publisher or the main bookstores such as Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles and Borders.

Quotes from Silent No More: The partisan arena: “After being quietly on the sidelines for years, [Muslims] are gaining prominence in government and demonstrating skill in politics. They are getting elected to public office, helping other candidates win, providing leadership in political party and government policy activities, and establishing a presence in the judicial branch of government.” [See page 221]

Bloc voting success: In November 7, 2000 presidential voting, “Muslims were the main new political element in Florida, whose twenty-five electoral votes finally settled the outcome of one of the most protracted presidential contests in history.... Bush benefited substantially from Muslim bloc voting. Florida Muslims provided him with a net margin that exceeded 60,000 votes, sixty times his winning margin.” [See pages 268-269]

“Muslim bloc voting brought about a major alteration of the American political landscape.... During the year, over seven hundred Muslims sought election as candidates.... One hundred and fifty-two were victorious.... In major political campaigns of the future, every serious contender for a major office will seek an interview with Muslim leaders. As Albert Gore lists errors in his presidential campaign, his failure to reschedule his cancelled date with [national Muslim] leaders may head the list.” [See pages 271-272]

“The Muslims who are engaged in organizational and public policy activities have made impressive strides in interfaith understanding, but they constitute only a small fraction of Islam’s community in America.” [See page 218] Findley’s advice to Muslims: “They must defend their faith aggressively and publicly against misconceptions and misrepresentations, especially those expressed by professed Muslims. Muslims should identify themselves publicly with Islam and seek ways to present the truth about their faith to non-Muslims.... Muslims can display their religious affiliation modestly but effectively by wearing a lapel pin, necklace, or ring that displays the word Allah, star-and-crescent, or some other visible linkage with Islam. [As a result of this display] their own good behavior and worthy accomplishments will be identified with Islam.” [See pages 282-284] “At present, television audiences identify only one person, Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, as a national Muslim leader, even though the majority of mainline Muslims do not accept him as such. That fact alone should summon U.S. Muslims to identify, train, and support followers of Islam who can become nationally recognized and respected.”

[See page 281 Malcolm X: In a previously unpublished chapter in the life of a famous Muslim, a foreign student at Dartmouth College successfully challenged Malcolm X “to reject anti-white racism and black separatism [and join mainstream Islam], then provided support when the controversial Black leader became engulfed in the national hysteria that followed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” [See page 187] Stereotypes: “Only in America is Islam closely... linked in the public mind with terrorism. The stereotype exists beyond our borders, of course, but nowhere else has it flourished in recent years with comparable intensity and persistence.” [See page 279] “Islam may be the single most liberating influence on the status of women in recorded history, greater than Christianity or Judaism.... Any form of female oppression violates the doctrines and rules of Islam. Most discrimination arises from brutish customs and male chauvinism, not from the Qur’an or the Sunnah [the traditions and customs of Prophet Muhammad]” [See page 127]

“Most Americans, I fear, have been beguiled into the mistaken belief that Muslims would like to institute a form of government that would be abuse to non-Muslims and impair cherished principles in our society. Unfortunately, some of these who are beguiled are influential.... [Stereotypes] cause discomfort, distrust, anxiety, even fear, and sometimes they lead to violence. In Washington, they create an unfortunate atmosphere in which legislation harmful to civil liberties is enacted. They promote a bias in foreign policy that tarnishes America’s worldwide reputation and seriously impairs our nation’s ability to provide effective leadership for human rights, and not just for Muslims.”

[See page 16]

“For years, U.S. Muslims have endured religious discrimination, some of it violent. Even the non-physical abuse has been painful: taunts, ridicule, anonymous phone calls, job discrimination, racial profiling, delays at airports for questioning, and even the indignity of strip searches by customs officials. Until recently, Muslims have not responded to abuse in an organized way. In fact, they had little organization for any purpose.” [See page 187]

Who is to Blame? “Much of the blame must be placed on certain Muslims: those who create inaccurate and unsettling visions of the type of government and society Muslim wants to establish; those who commit acts of religious intolerance and other un-Islamic misdeeds in the name of their religion; and those who hear or see reports of such misbehavior by professed Muslims without speaking out in protest.” [See page 109] Findley writes that some misguided supporters of Israel nurture these stereotypes, believing they form a strong underpinning of U.S. public support for Israel in its struggle with Palestinians, but he finds that not all Jews are hostile toward Muslims: “When the Islamic Center in Ft. Collins, Colorado, was ransacked and damaged, Rabbi Jack Gabriel was the first to show up with a hammer to help make repairs. When the mosque in Springfield, Illinois, was set afire, Rabbi Barry A. Marks arrived the next morning to offer help and participate there in an interfaith service.” [See page 280]

-0- ].... Islam may be the single most liberating influence on the status of women in recorded history, greater than Christianity or Judaism.”

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About the Author:

PAUL FINDLEY Member of Congress 20th District, Illinois, 1961-1983

Principal author, 1975 Title XII [Famine Prevention Program], Foreign Assistance Act. Principal author, 1978 law which raised to 70 the age below which employees cannot be forced to retire because of age. A principal author of the War Powers Resolution. Led Illinois agricultural trade missions to Soviet Union, 1973, and China, 1978. Chaired 1965 fact finding mission to Paris. Delegate, North Atlantic Assembly conferences, 1965-1981.

Books:
Silent No More: Confronting America’s False Images of Islam, 2001, Amana
Publications, Beltsville, MD 20705-2223 1-800 660-1777.
Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts About the U.S.-Israeli Relationship,1995 ed,
American Educational Trust, 1-800 368-5788. Also published in Arabic and Farsi.
They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, 1978 ed,
Lawrence Hill Books, 312 337-0747. Over 300,000 sold. Also published in Arabic,
German, Urdu, Indonesian, Malaysian. A. Lincoln: The Crucible of Congress, 1999 ed, Lincoln Home National Historic Site bookstore, 217 523-0222.
The Federal Farm Fable, 1968, Arlington House, out of print.

Media comments on They Dare to Speak Out:

Christian Science Monitor, “first class.”

Washington Post, “straight forward and valid.”

Jerusalem Post, “undeniably impressive.”

Boston Globe, “resolutely fair-minded.”

Library Journal, “responsible.”

Detroit Free Press, “thoughtful.”

Media appearances:
NBC Meet the Press, NBC Today Show, CBS Morning Show, CBS Charlie Rose Late Night, CNN Crossfire, CNN Take Two, C-Span, PBS Late Night America, Larry King Mutual radio network, Michael Jackson ABC network, MBS Middle East network, over 100 radio and television appearances.

Middle East-Related Policy appearances:
UN conferences, 1988 in Geneva, 1989 in Kuala Lumpur, 1993 in New York; 1989 in Cape Town, South Africa; 1989 foreign service institute, Sana’a, Yemen; 1987 Foreign Service Institute, Washington; 1986 and 1988 Foreign Service Institutes in Baghdad; 1988 Foreign Service Institute, Abu Dhabi; 1989 Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, Cairo; 1989, 1990, and 1999, Institutes for Diplomatic Studies, Cairo; 1995 Strategic Research Center, Sana’a, Yemen; 1995 international workshop on images of Islam, Penang, Malaysia; 1996 conference on Jerusalem policy, London; 1997 National Guard Festival, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 1997 and 1998 young leaders’ conferences sponsored by UN University, Amman, Jordan.

Recognitions:
Human rights—1977 Elijah Lovejoy Award; 1979 Holy Land Fund man of year; 1986 human understanding award by EAFORD, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. 1992 Alex Odeh Memorial Award and 1981 human rights award, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; 1993 human rights award, Syracuse ADC; 2000 Malcolm X national human rights award, American Muslim Alliance.

Foreign policy—1976 Estes Kefauver Memorial Award for promoting international federation, presented by Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller; 1978 Commander’s Cross, Order of Merit, highest civilian award of the Federal Republic of Germany.

American Heritage—1972 Logan Hay Award, Abraham Lincoln Association; 1980 Laureate of Lincoln Academy, State of Illinois.

Academic—1942 election to Phi Beta Kappa; 1943 bachelor of arts, Illinois College; 1976 election to Alpha Zeta.

Honorary doctorate degrees—1969 Lindenwood College, 1973 Illinois College, 1988 Lincoln University, 1997 MacMurray College, 1997 Sana’a University, Yemen.

Personal:
Born June 23, 1921, Jacksonville, IL; served with Seabees in Pacific in World War II; married Lucille Gemme; two children, Craig and Diane. Four grandchildren. Affiliations: Presbyterian, Rotary, American Legion, AmVets, VFW.

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