Getraer statements false, easily refuted
For Targum readers, I will shed some light on the unenlightened statements made by Rutgers Hillel Director, Andrew Getraer.
To start, Getraer asserted that “Islam is a huge problem” in the world. The assumption here is that Islam is somehow responsible for terrible acts of terrorism that go on. This notion is actually the opposite of true. A report from Britain’s counter-terrorism agency, MI5 actually found that “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practice their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could actually be regarded as religious novices.” This was the case with Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, two British teens who purchased the books “Islam for Dummies” and “Koran for Dummies” before joining ISIS. The problem is that these terrorists are dummies when it comes to religion, engaging in “drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes,” according to the MI5 report. The study added that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalization.” Islam is a solution in preventing terrorism, so maybe terrorists should start following it.
Getraer also said, ”I know a few -A FEW- devout Muslims who are not hateful people.” I am not sure what kind of Muslims Getraer is interacting with, but Muslims in America are actually more likely than any other religious group to reject violence carried out against innocent people. A recent Gallup poll found that 78 percent of Muslims claim that military violence against civilians is never justified, compared to 56 percent for those with no religion, 43 percent of Jews, 39 percent of Protestants and 38 percent of Catholics.
When asked about the 130 children killed by the Taliban in Peshawar, Pakistan, Getraer claimed that they practice “a real version [of Islam], with millions of followers and real power.” In determining the validity of this Islam, let us see what the Quran says about killing children. “We decreed to the Children of Israel that if anyone kills a person — unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land — it is as if he kills all mankind” (Quran 5:32). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said, ”He is not one of us who does not have mercy upon our young.” I am not sure what Quranic evidence Getraer has to declare killing children a legitimate form of Islam, but I cannot find a single verse supporting his claims.
Getraer then claims that “25% of Muslims...Really want jihad, kill infidels, etc,” which amounts to 375 million terrorists. The State Department’s most recent terrorism statistics reported a total of 9,707 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2013. Under the generous assumptions that every attack was carried out by Muslims and that each took 100 people, that still would only amount to 970,700 terrorists. At best, Andrew Getraer is off by over 374.03 million people.
Getraer then states, ”We have many Islamist sympathizers [at Rutgers]. They won’t kill anyone, but they cheer for those who do. But they do it quietly so people won’t know(sic).” He goes on to say, ”They [Muslims at Rutgers] say killing of Jews is terrible! Unless the Jews are Israelis or Zionists, or are killed by any Palestinian. Then it’s ok.”(sic). To suggest that Muslim students quietly applaud the killing of innocents is irrational. On December 16th, in the middle of finals week, over 100 Muslim students came out to have a candlelight vigil for the victims of a Taliban attack in Peshawar, a few who had even previously attended the school attacked. To say that Rutgers’ Muslim students support the murders of innocent people, regardless of their race or political ideology, is utterly disgusting and could not be farther from the truth.
The saddest part is that no one in the Rutgers community has said a word. While outside organizations like Harvard Progressive Jewish Alliance, a Hillel-affiliated group, have condemned Getraer’s hate, no one from Rutgers Hillel has said a word. What is the reason for such silence? I call on the Rutgers community and Hillel to break this silence and reaffirm that Getraer’s bogus statements do not reflect their values of tolerance and open-mindedness, essential to a college environment. In a country where Muslims make up 1 percent of the population but 10 percent of hate crime victims, are we really going to wait for someone inspired by Getraer to harm one of Rutgers students, 12 percent of whom are Muslim, before someone speaks out?
Hamzah Raza is a first-year student majoring in Mathematics and a senator representing the Newark College of Arts and Sciences in the Rutgers University Senate.