Khaleel Mohammed, a professor at San Diego State University and a popular "moderate Muslim," goes around the country reassuring Jewish audiences by telling them that in the Qur'an Allah gives the land of Israel to the Jews. And it does say that. One key verse is 5:21, which promises Israel to the Jews conditionally: "O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin."
This sounds great, of course: it suggests that Muslims who fight against Israel are ignoring their own holy book, and that once this verse and others like it are pointed out to them, they will accept the existence of Israel. And it also suggests that the vast majority of Muslims, because of this verse, have no problem with Israel at all.
Unfortunately, the Qur'an also says that the Jews, through their disobedience to Allah, have earned Allah's curse (2:89, 9:30). Those who are accursed forfeit whatever Allah has given them. Meanwhile, the true followers of Moses's genuine, uncorrupted teachings are the Muslims, and so they are the ones who inherit the promises about Israel.
But that part of the Qur'anic message doesn't make it into Khaleel Mohammed's presentations.
Also, a few years ago Khaleel Mohammed said this about me: "He misquotes verses of the Qur'an, takes things out of context, and shamelessly lies." Since I do not misquote verses of the Qur'an, take things out of context, or shamelessly lie, I contacted him and asked for either documentation of his charges or a retraction. (I also responded to his false charges here.) He refused to retract, even though he did not (and could not) produce even one example of my misquoting verses of the Qur'an, taking things out of context, or shamelessly lying. And he compounded matters by responding: "As for shameless lies, I stand by my assertion, especially after received material in which you claim Muhammad married his daughter in law etc."
In reality, I did not fabricate this "claim," and I am sure that Khaleel Mohammed is well aware of this. The notorious incident of Muhammad's marriage to his former daughter-in-law Zaynab, far from being a "shameless lie," is a well-known and much-discussed element of Islamic tradition. You can read about it in this section of my Jihad Watch Blogging the Qur'an series.
Anyway, Khaleel Mohammed burnished his credentials as a "moderate" by appearing in Obsession, and for several years now since the film originally appeared he seemed perfectly happy to have done so. Even when it was shown on Fox, as far as I can tell Khaleel Mohammed uttered not a word of demurral or protest (if he did actually issue a statement at that time and I have overlooked it, please send it to me and I will correct this). But now that 28 million copies of the film have been distributed all over the country and it has a higher profile than ever before, Khaleel Mohammed has discovered that it is a "vile piece of propaganda," and has apologized for appearing in it. The apology appears on the Obsession with Hate website about which Marisol recently wrote here.
In an exclusive statement for obsessionwithhate.com, Dr. Khaleel Mohammed, the only Obsession interviewee who is an Islamic Studies Professor, delivers a new lethal blow to the film's credibility, exposing what many already knew:
"Sadly, it would seem that I have allowed myself to be used. I gave an interview to the makers of "obsession" wherein I explained the meaning of Jihad, and its misuse by extremists. I understood that the film would be used objectively, focusing on fanatics who seek to spread violence. I am aware that there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that says it is not about Islam in general, but only about extremist interpretations.
"But the material from some of the speakers gives the lie to the disclaimer: many of them are not experts, or have used the mantle of academic qualifications to purvey hate. That their alarmist drivel should be mixed with my whittled down interview proves that the intent of the film is not to educate, but to mislead. The free distribution of the film to voters in particular districts shows the political chicanery that is the motive, and the secrecy about the financing of the distribution only underlines the evil intent in circulating this vile piece of propaganda.
"Evidence seems to indicate the involvement of Aish ha-Torah in this dishonest enterprise. I find that particularly distressing, because any Jewish organization ought to realize what the film seeks to do: they demonize an entire community to the point where a government takes action to further beleaguer its citizens and resident aliens simply because of their religious identity. This bigotry over religion and identity is precisely what caused the Shoah — and it is sad that those who ought to have learned what hate can engender should seek to imitate Nazi propagandism.
"Yet — for all the nefarious intent of the distributors of the film — I must also accept culpability for allowing myself to be so used. I still oppose many of the traditional interpretations of Islam—but that has nothing to do with the film Obsession. I cannot stand by silently and allow my participation in such satanic demonization of innocents. I apologize to my fellow Muslims for appearing in such a film. I apologize to my Jewish teachers and friends-- who have warned me time and again about falling into such a situation—for not heeding their counsel. And I expect now that those who support the film will make me their target. But again: I am no diplomat, and I love a good fight. I am obsessed with the truth. Let's get it on. "
The audacity of Khaleel Mohammed's BS never ceases to amaze me. For one thing, he says here, "I explained the meaning of Jihad, and its misuse by extremists," when he must know, if he knows anything about Islamic theology, that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that jihad mainly means warfare (by various means, violent and nonviolent) against unbelievers in order to subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. And when he says that the film demonizes an entire community, he is ignoring large sections of the beginning and end of the film, where the film plainly states that most Muslims have nothing to do with the jihadist program, and other elements within it -- including Khaled Abu Toameh's assertion that his religion has been "hijacked," which is presented without contradiction.
And then comes his most audacious bit of BS: "And I expect now that those who support the film will make me their target. But again: I am no diplomat, and I love a good fight. I am obsessed with the truth. Let's get it on." Obsessed with truth? This is a man who misrepresents the Qur'an to Jewish audiences; who has smeared me and my work with false charges that he refuses to retract; and who is either unacquainted with or deliberately deceptive about one of the most famous incidents in Muhammad's career. Obsessed with truth? Obsessed with obscuring it, maybe. Obsessed with destroying it, fine. But obsessed with presenting it? Not Khaleel Mohammed.
So, Dr. Mohammed: I gladly accept the challenge you issued to those who support the film, and am ready to debate you about Obsession, the meaning of jihad, the Jews in the Qur'an, and the life of Muhammad and his marriage to his former daughter-in-law. Or if you'd like to frame the debate in some other way, I am open to your suggestions. I'm happy to see that you have changed your tune from your contemptuous and inaccurate description of our earlier exchanges that still stands here, in which you refuse to discuss substantive issues with me. I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org, and will cheerfully publish your response. I love a good fight too. "Let's get it on" indeed.