Here is an article from FoxNews about a recent review of the FBI’s training materials. As a result of this review, some of the documents being used by the FBI have been removed from their training program. There are two problems with this article.
First, surely there is nothing controversial about calling Mohammed a “cult leader.” Neither should there be any controversy in stating “”devout” Muslims have been generally violent for hundreds of years.” Both of these statements are factually true. Granted, it is incorrect to call Islam, in its current form, a cult. Islam is now recognized as a religion and so it spawns its own cults now in much the same way as Christianity, which is a religion, spawns its own cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, in his own lifetime, Mohammed could have been accurately described as a cult leader – especially in the early days of Islam.
Equally, a simply reading of recent history will show the pattern of violence perpetrated in the name of Islam. Perhaps the FBI wants to avoid portraying Islam as a violent religion and would like to describe people who commit violence in the name of Islam as something other than genuine Muslims. However, this is (or should be) genuinely insulting to these people. If a person chooses to murder others and claims to do so precisely because they believe Islam requires them to do so then it is demeaning to this person to claim they have simply misunderstood the message of Islam. Aside from the existence of an awful lot of “misunderstanders of Islam,” this accusation of not understanding one’s own religion is an insult to people who generally care enough about their religion to act on what they believe it teaches them.
Second, and I admit this is a totally personal issue, I am a bit concerned about the poor grammar being put to sad use by Fox News these days. Let me give you some examples from this article:
- “Despite the outcome, the FBI maintained that the bulk of its training materials is up to FBI standards.” This is a terrible sentence! The word “is” should surely be “are” since the training materials being mentioned are plural. Of course, as an alternative, the sentence could read “the bulk of its training material is up…” Fox News should just pick one grammatically correct option!
- “It showed “devout” followers of the Torah and the Bible becoming less violent over time, while “devout” followers of the Koran remaining as violent in 2010 as they were hundreds of years ago.” Here is the problem: the word “remaining” does not fit the sentence. 2010 is in the past and so the reference to the followers of the Koran should have stated “while “devout” followers of the Koran remained as violent in 2010 as they were hundreds of years ago.”
Perhaps I could go on but I will stop myself before I get carried away on a grammatical whirlwind.
What do these two things have to do with the Kingdom of God?
Islam is one of the greatest sources of conflict for Christians all over the world. Very few – if any – countries ruled by Islamic governments are open to Christianity and most of them allow active persecution of Christians. Even when a nation is not ruled by an Islamic government the activities of Muslims can destroy the lives and work of churches. If you need proof then you should simply watch the news from Nigeria for a few days.
Poor grammar seems to be a much smaller threat to the Kingdom of God. Personally, and this is maybe pushing a point too far, I think clear thinking and communication are required for useful dialogue. Poor grammar hinders both clear thinking and clear communication.
So my advice is for the FBI to lease a backbone and for Fox News to employ an editor or technical writer.
Please note: Some of the parts of this article are meant to be cheeky and not entirely serious. You can work out these parts for yourself.