You Wonder Why I Can't Stand These Religions

10/29/2005 05:59 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

This week the new president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said, “Israel must be wiped off the map.” He followed that gem up by saying, “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of Islamic nation’s fury.” And you wonder why I can’t stand Islam.

This is not some fringe character in a remote area of the world. This is the president of one of the most important countries in the world. He was put in place by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (if you think the recent Iranian elections were fair and honest, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I have just got to sell you). By the way, Ahmedinejad was quoting Khamenei's predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, when he said Israel must be wiped off the map.

Ayatollah Khomeini was one of the most powerful and influential religious leaders in the world. And Ayatollah Khamenei continues to serve as the supreme religious leader in Iran and is one of the most important Islamic clerics on the planet. These are not small, isolated men. These are the voices of Islam.

And it is an ugly, abhorrent voice. Wiping Israel off the map would mean killing millions of innocent men, women and children. And this is Allah’s commandment? And you wonder why I can’t stand Islam.

Right about now, there are many people who are thinking the familiar refrain of, “But that’s so unfair, most peace loving Muslims don’t think that way!” Really? Prove it.

If the majority of Iranians don’t think that way, why are their leaders President Ahmedinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei? I understand the elections were fixed and the will of the majority was likely thwarted, but it’s not like Iran is unfamiliar with revolutions. The Islamic Revolution seemed wholly supported by the people at the time.

The Iranians can prove they are not the barbarians their leaders make them out to be by getting rid of their leaders. I know this is not a simple matter, but if people want to claim they have a religion of peace they ultimately have to act that way. Unlike the Bush administration, I understand this might take many years and I fervently hope it can be done through non-violent means. But until these blood-thirsty Muslim leaders are replaced, it is not possible to claim that the Islamic people of Iran are generally peace loving and mean no harm.

Furthermore, do you really believe that if you polled Muslims in the Middle East, that this view would be in the minority? I am very afraid it would not be. Obviously, this is not a matter of genetics or ethnicity. I am an ethnic Muslim and obviously I do not support killing Israelis. And I know many other Muslims who agree with me. But this is a matter of religion. The Muslims who are most likely to want the death of all the Jews are the religious ones. To deny that is to deny reality itself.

Why doesn’t the president of Iran talk of wiping Syria or Jordan or Yemen off the map? Because they are predominantly Muslim. So they’re a-okay. Israel is Jewish and it must be exterminated. Gee, I wonder if religion plays a role in that.

I understand that there are non-religious wars. I understand that Iran had a lengthy war with Iraq that had little to do with religion (although Shiite-Sunni schisms were used as an excuse in that war as well). And I understand there have been terrible people who started terrible conflicts without the pretense of religion. But you have to understand that religion is fuel on the fire. Some of these conflicts and wars could be entirely avoided without the antagonisms of religious differences.

I don’t recall the Iranians threatening to wipe Palestine off the map before half of it was taken over by Jews. To deny that religion plays an enormous role in the hostilities that get thousands, and possibly millions, killed in the Middle East is to deny reality itself.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not just a rant against Islam. They are far from the only culpable party here. Whose bright idea was it to put a Jewish state in the middle of the Arab Middle East? Yeah, that probably wouldn’t cause endless war.

I understand why there was a reasonable demand for a Jewish state at the time of the creation of Israel. I understand the need of Jews, as an ethnicity, to demand a place they could call their own and feel safe residing in. And who thought they would be safe in the middle of a sea of Muslims?

It’s one thing to have set Israel up in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It’s another to set it up in a place where it was guaranteed to set off religious hostilities. And why did they pick Palestine of all places? Religion, of course.

The Jews were promised that particular holy land by God or Yahweh or whatever other absurd mythical name you want to call your Jewish Santa Claus. God selected the Jews as his favorite people of all time and called them his chosen people. Yeah, I guess God didn’t particularly care for the Chinese, the Afghans or the Burmese. He just loved those Jews.

And he absolutely insisted that they have this God forsaken piece of real estate called Jerusalem. Yeah, Christians, Muslims and Jews all competing to be in possession of this one city – that probably won’t cause endless wars through thousands of years. You wonder why I can’t stand these religions.

So, let me make it clear. The original Zionist idea of retaking the holy land and making it a Jewish state was a terrible and disastrous idea. It was spurred on by their absurd religious beliefs and it has only served to make the Jewish people, let alone everyone else, far less safe. You wonder why I can’t stand Judaism.

So, here we go again. The next round of bloodbaths promises to continue on as a bunch of witless barbarians fight over the same goddamn piece of worthless land. And I’m the bad guy for saying religion makes the world a worse place?

I posit that the real bad guys, who are going to get the rest of us killed along with themselves, are the Muslim Ayatollahs and the Israeli settlers.

Though I think the original Zionist idea – and more importantly, their choice of locale – was misguided to say the least, what’s done is done. Every reasonable person knows what can bring peace – give the West Bank and Gaza Strip back to the Palestinians roughly along the 1967 borders, no right of return to the Palestinians for Israel proper and split Jerusalem in half. I know it, you know it, and the entire world knows it. But we won’t do it because of the religious zealots on both sides.

You wonder why I can’t stand these religions.

For the love of God, Yahweh and Allah, let’s save the people of the Middle East by getting rid of the absurd religious beliefs of the Middle East.