Town Hall meeting warns against 'political Islam'
Town Hall Tennessee held a meeting Thursday evening at the Sevierville Civic Center aimed at informing community leaders and citizens on Sharia law and the perceived threat of "political Islam."
The meeting featured guest speakers Matt Bonner, Dr. Bill Warner and John Peach. According to the speakers, Sharia law is the political implementation of the Islamic civilization.
Bonner, the southeast regional director of the Crescent Project — a group whose mission is to "reach Muslims with the Gospel of Christ" — opened up the meeting with a wealth of anecdotal evidence as to why political Islam is a threat to western culture. Bonner established a theme that was ongoing throughout the night: the speakers at the event were careful to point out that they do not view Islam solely as a religion, but also as a political doctrine; they emphasized that their speeches were not against the religion of Islam.
"I want you to walk out of here with a fresh perspective on who the Muslim person is and what Islam is," Bonner said. "The Muslim person is trapped in the political system of Islam."
Bonner also established another theme of the night when he opened by saying, "We don't have time for political correctness tonight."
And there certainly were statements made that most would not find to be politically correct, whether it was a later joke made by Warner about how the book of Sharia law is more hateful to Jewish people than Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," or a statement made by Bonner that calls into question a foundation of the democracy in our country.
"Islam does not separate religion and politics, so why should we?" Bonner asked.
Bonner offered stories told to him by former Muslims, now converted to Christianity, about everything wrong with political Islam, such as the harsh punishments for acts forbidden in Sharia law, honor killings and the way women are treated in Islamic communities, but lamented that he could not go into further detail.
"We don't have time to go into everything," Bonner said. "This is a tragedy."
While the bulk of his speech revolved around abstract and anecdotal evidence, he did offer hard data to support some of his claims, though he emphasized that the numbers he used are disputed, because he said many of the crimes related to Sharia law go unreported. "This stuff is happening," Bonner said.
Bonner closed his speech by suggesting that Jesus was going to take over political Islam and shut it down. "Jesus is going after the strongholds of Islam," Bonner said.
Dr. Bill Warner, which is the pen name for Dr. Bill French, a former physics instructor at Tennessee State University who has no formal training in religion, followed Bonner at the meeting. Warner is the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam, a for-profit organization, and was at the forefront of opposition to the building of a mosque in Murfreesboro recently.
"It's subjective to ask a Muslim what Islam is," Warner said. "The media says you can't understand the perspective of Muslims if you are not one yourself."
Warner said that he uses fact-based thought to understand the perspective of Muslims and Islam as a whole. He reiterated his disdain for the media several times throughout the night.
"The media would call this hate speech," Warner said. "I talk about politics, not religion. I have no interest in the religion of Islam."
In his speech, Warner continually referenced any person who might have a dissenting opinion as an "apologist," stating their opinions for them. "When I say 'Islam,' apologists hear 'Muslim,'" Warner said, adding that Muslims are separate from the doctrine of political Islam.
Warner believes that political Islam is the part of Islam that deals with the Kafir, which he explained is a word that essentially means a nonbeliever in the Islamic religion. "I'm a Kafir, and maybe you are too," Warner said. "It's the part that I'm interested in, it's the part that concerns me."
Warner freely admitted that he was likely misprounouncing the word Kafir, and many other terms he referenced during the night, but said that it stemmed from being self-taught on the subject. "That's just how it goes when you learn it all from books," Warner said.
After putting up a slide show with a chart containing data on the rise of Islam in Turkey over several centuries, Warner said that Islam becomes the de-facto religion in any country it is present in. "It overtakes a country any time it enters," Warner said. "It becomes completely Islamic."
He said that he had similar maps for many other countries in the Middle East, although he never mentioned the numerous countries that have an Islamic presence with another religion representing the majority.
Warner noted that he believes the biggest problem in the discussion of political Islam is ignorance. "There's ignorance in the media, ignorance in the military, ignorance in the universities, ignorance in the churches," Warner said. "People have a moral obligation to learn this."
In closing, Warner acknowledged the controversy in his speech. "Everything you just heard today is what they call hate speech," Warner said. "They would tell you that I'm part of the inner circle of hate."
"The media is carrying water for Muhammad," Warner said.
After Warner's speech concluded and a collection was taken, John Peach gave a presentation on ACT! for America.
ACT! is an organization that aims to give Americans who are concerned about radical Islam a voice and a place to mobilize.
The evening ended with a question-and-answer session.
Warner then made his books available for purchase to the crowd.