7 Questions and answers on Islamic community center
There are all kinds of problems in your questions to Rauf, especially in how you compare ideal Christianity to practical Islam, whereas the honest thing is to compare equals - practical Christianity to practical Islam, and ideal Christianity to ideal Islam.
1. Islam is no more a one-way religion than Christianity. Islam states that there is no compulsion in religion, and so people are free to leave, just as Christianity allows. In practice, where Islam captures the state or otherwise dominates culture, it coerces people to remain, and in some places even kills them - and in practice that has been the invariable practice of Christianity for the past 1800 years. In theory, both are perfect in this matter. In historical experience, both are bad, Islam being much less so, being the eastern Mediterranean version of the Reformation, which historical circumstances guided in a somewhat different direction.
2. Cordoba was the most tolerant and religiously equal society anywhere at the time, far exceeding the history of practical Christianity from the moment Christians obtained any political power from around the 2nd century onward. It fell somewhat short of the Christian ideal of the level playing field, but it also fell short of the Islamic ideal - no compulsion in religion. But it is perfectly reasonable for an Islamic cultural center, or a Christian church, to apply the standard of Cordoba on its own premises - protection of others as dhimmis. Christians are in fact quite resentful of efforts to apply secular non-discrimination statutes to their own hiring practices, and rightly so. To conflate Cordoba House's application of Cordoba's principals in its own house with a purported goal of establishing a Muslim caliphate over the US as a whole is simply not honest.
3. The tolerance of Cordoba is insufficient, but so is that of Calvin and the other Reformers, who explicitly stated that it was the job of the emperor to punish heresy, and who murdered people over religious doctrine all the time. That the Reformers were more likely to drown you than burn you as the RCs did was not a truly radical departure. Again, you compare Islamic practice to the Christian ideal. Proceeding that way is by no means beyond reproach.
4. In fact, as you've made clear in your own writings, integrity and wholeness are only found in submission to Allah, so that these are equivalent. Moreover, Paul wrote that we are to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, which clearly implies that peace derives from submission to Allah, so that peace is lost through rebellion against that rule. The Islamic doctrine of peace through submission to God is in fact a biblical teaching happily preserved in Islam. That this is distorted into religious authoritarianism in Islam is obvious. [sarcasm alert] That's very unusual in the history of Christianity, isn't it?
5. The law of Christ is obligatory for all Christians, and it regulates the minute details of our lives. There isn't anything in a Christian's life that is not to be subject to the lordship of Christ. Shari'a can distort that principle by regulating things with a rule that need to be regulated by relationship, but that's just what happens with Moses in Judaism, and most certainly in every Christian tradition.
Moreover, since the Qu'ran refers to Mary and others long before Jesus as Muslims, it is evident that Islam in Qu'ranic thought precedes Muhammad and is indeed submission to God. And John Rankin, among other Christians including Peter Attwood, holds that true peace can be attained only through submission to God. Hence to hold that belief, which is our own, against Cordoba House is certainly not the use of equal weights and equal measures that is required of us.
6. Shari'a no more implies a top-down government than the statutes of Torah do. In fact, the regulations involved are frequently impossible for any government to police and can easily lead one into conflict with the demands of civil government, as in fact they often have. Top-down governments that regulate the small details of our lives are historically quite impatient with religious codes that do the same thing and which do not look to government for their enforcement.
Do governments like Sa'udiyyah, the "Christian" kingdoms over 1500 years, and the modern state of Israel elect themselves as enforcers of such codes, with the connivance of religious people? Sure do - even now in the States, to wit, the Chino Valley Unified School District - so far as they can get away with it. Is there any evidence that Rauf is entertaining such ambitions?
7. Now there's a good question. Will Cordoba House get a chance to see an expression of Christianity that meets or exceeds what Islam teaches concerning Jesus the Spirit of God and the Word of God, who will judge the world by the law and the gospel in the last day? They won't see it in the statement of the previous six questions in this piece.