I am writing in response to Mr. Viliami Lakasi’s (if that’s his/her real name) strictures against a letter I previously posted in this website on the possible threat to the Tongan community at large, of the proposal by the minority Tongan Muslims to set up a school in Tonga. I am convinced that the splendid contribution from our European friend Mr. Smike Kaszner (posted on the same day as Mr. Lakasi’s letter, 27th of April) has utterly smothered the day light out of Mr. Lakasi’ blindspotted objections to the observation that in the global context, Muslims are generally well-known not only for initiating violence, endorsing it but also actively supporting militant terrorist groups. It may be well on Mr. Lakasi’s behalf to pay close attention to the citations from Islam’s sacred book that Mr. Kaszner marshalled for they clearly dictate and endorse the use of violence against non-Muslim people such as Mr. Lakasi(?) and I. There is a sense in which I might have appeared (at least to Mr. Lakasi) to ‘gloss over’ (as he puts it) the violence initiated by Christians throughout world history. My level of knowledge on this matter may indeed be ‘amateurish’ as I promptly acknowledged but no one can claim absolute knowledge to any given subject matter whatever it might be. (Epistemically speaking, all we may possibly lay claim to is ‘sufficient’ knowledge). In all likelihood, Mr. Lakasi seems to suffer from what most critics would call a severe form of myopic opinionated syndrome. There indeed is a massive difference between claims to violence committed by Christians and what the world is still painfully trying to come to terms with in the current ‘War on Terror’. I must sideline the Israel-Palestinian conflict from this discussion since Mr. Lakasi has forcefully dragged them in against their will. Israelites in general belong to a religion called Judaism from which Christianity descended almost two millenia ago. Strictly speaking, Christian sponsored violence (if they still occur) signifies a stage in which Christianity has utterly missed the central teaching of their religion about Jesus coming to die a violent death on the cross for the sins of the world. On the contrary, for Muslims, violence arises as an inevitable result of scrupulously observing the teachings of their sacred book. In other words, ‘bad Christians’ (if we may put it so) are those who would resort to violence as a means of accomplishing religious ambitions. But violence as such is something which is never endorsed in the Bible. In striking contrast, ‘bad Muslims’ are those who generally refrain from committing violence in the name of their religion. In that sense, there apparently are two monumental problems that Mr. Lakasi must overcome in order to have a more sober assessment of the issue at stake: (1) He seems to exhibit no such adequate knowledge (not even on the ‘amateurish level’) of the Islam religion as presented in their sacred book similar to those demonstrated by Mr. Kaszner in his letter. (2) More dangerously, Mr. Lakasi confuses ‘bad’ Muslims for the ‘good’ ones. It is of course true that there may be peaceable Muslims out there who may be largely overlooked in gross generalizations such as those evident in this letter. However, from a fundamentally Islamized viewpoint, they are the ‘bad’ Muslims whose commitment to Islam is limited to the external rituals but who have no such deep grasp of the revered content of their sacred book such as those Mr. Kaszner has pointed out. In the final analysis, Mr. Lakasi, I suggest, you should dig deeper (by means of your epistemically charged inquisitive mind) into the the Muslim course to find out truly what your seemingly peace-loving Muslim friends are missing out on in their claims to be Muslims. From a thoroughly Westernized viewpoint, the only ‘good’ Muslims are those who sincerely refuse to take seriously the teaching of their sacred book. (I sometimes wish Christians were as ardent as Muslim fundamentalists in following the Bible). On one level, Mr. Lakasi’s friends (so as probably many other Muslims all over the place) may be peace-loving but the fact that we have yet to see Muslims out in arms publicly objecting to the violence sponsored by the so-called Muslim ‘freedom fighters’ across the world can be reversely credited to them as endorsement of such brutalities. As Christians, we are taught in the Bible to pray for non-believers including our Muslim friends and even for Mr. Lakasi that they may come to a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and his death for the forgiveness of our sins. Muslims on the other hand are exhorted in their sacred book to mercilessly kill the unbelievers. I must therefore resort to praying for you Mr. Lakasi and for your peace-loving Muslim friends. To be peace-loving is appallingly insufficient before God. One has to be sure one is ‘at peace’ with God through trusting in the blood of his Son Jesus Christ.
‘Ofa atu mo e lotu,
Rev Dr Ma’afu’otu’itonga Palu
maafu [dot] palu [at] gmail [dot] com