Bashar Assad's Laughable Lecture

Lessons on religion are rich coming from a man who is slaughtering his own people.

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During a meeting in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Assad had a warning for the Iranian foreign minister: "Saudi Arabia's political and religious ideaology is a threat to the world." Odd coming from a man who many believe is using chemical weapons on his own people.

Much like the religion of Christianity – with its Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, to name a few – Islam has its factions. So not every "Muslim" nation is practicing the same form of Islam. In Saudi Arabia, to which Assad was referring, they practice Wahhabism. This is usually defined as an ultra conservative tradition which hails from the Sunnis, who comprise the majority of the population of that nation. For others, though, Wahhabism is a complete perversion from the teachings of Islam.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Syria.]

So why would the leader of a Muslim nation make such a comment? Because the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is backing those who are revolting against him. Assad said, "The Syrian people and some peoples in the region know how serious the threat posed by Wahhabism is, and everyone must contribute to the confrontation against it and to eradicating it from the root." This is no surprise coming from a man who is an Alawite, a form of the Shiite faction of Islam, and whose nation has been an enemy of Saudi Arabia for many years.

When I first read about Assad's comments, I wasn't surprised I would disagree with a man who many feel is the puppetmaster behind a mass murder. And, ironically, Assad's remarks come a week before a "peace" conference. How much peace is found in "eradicating" something from its root?

Of course, perversions of any religion, such as terrorists killing in the name of Islam, not only stain the purity of that religion, but result in mass discrimination, prejudice and hatred of the people practicing it. But Wahhabism is not the problem; leaders of Muslim nations that ignore the actual writings and teachings of the Quran, like Assad himself, are.

[Check out 2013: The Year in Cartoons.]

My father was Jewish and my mother, a former Catholic, is a born-again Christian. I read the Bible cover to cover, twice, both the Old and the New Testament. When I married my husband, a non-practicing Muslim who was raised that way, and after hearing so many comments about what Islam is and isn't and what the Quran says, I decided to read it for myself.

I can assure you. There is nothing in the Quran which tells of or teaches men to oppress women as they do in Saudi Arabia. And I can further assure you that there is nowhere in the Quran that teaches of killing your own people with chemical weapons. Murder is murder. Perversion is perversion. Lies are lies.

Assad should stop looking to Saudi Arabia's ideaology and look in the mirror, at his own.

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