The former president of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, told the pre-convention pastors conference in St. Louis last week:

Islam was founded by a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives – and his last one was a 9-year-old girl.

That, and the Rev. Jerry Vines, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida’s further statement: “Allah is not Jehovah either. Jehovah’s not gonna turn you into a terrorist that’ll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people.”

This evoked furious reactions:

  • In Washington, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Ibrahim Hooper denounced Vine’s statement as: “Outrageous. It’s really unfortunate that a top leader in a mainstream Christian church would use such hate-filled and bigoted language in describing the faith of one-fifth of the world’s population.”

  • Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League called Vines’ statement: “Demeaning and damaging to the American ideals of religious diversity and inter-group civility … such deplorable, divisive rhetoric is not surprising coming from the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has a track record of denigrating and delegitimizing other religions.” (Question: Is this statement of Foxman’s clear of all that is divisive and demeaning?)

  • Episcopal Bishop George Wayne Smith of St. Louis said: “In the name of God, we condemn the hateful statement made in our city about Islam and the prophet Muhammad, and we express our solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

The only problem with all this sound and fury is that Islam’s own “Hadith” (the sayings of Muhammad) in Volume 7, Book 62, reports that Muhammad married Aisha at age 6, and when she was 9-years-old, he consummated their marriage.

“We don’t understand why this is a controversy,” Dr. Ergun Caner told the Dallas Morning News. “This is something you have in Hadith; this is something in Islam’s teaching – something we were taught as children.” Dr. Caner, who was born a Muslim, is on the faculty of Criswell College in Dallas. With his brother, Dr. Emir Fethi Caner, who teaches at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., he has written the book, “Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs.”

In Dallas, Dr. Caner said: “Muhammad himself questioned whether he was demon-possessed.”

But Dallas Morning News reporter Berta Delgado wrote: “Some Muslims say the young bride in question was actually 16 when she was betrothed, 18 when she married the prophet.”

But this reporter provided no identity for any of those she listed as “some Muslims.”

The book “Unveiling Islam” is now going into its fourth printing. Dr. Caner of Wake Forest told me: “Muhammad personally led 83 military expeditions. And he ordered: If a Muslim changes his religion, kill him.”

Thirty-seven years ago, the leader of the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, Dr. Nedg Mond Dine Bammate, wrote the following for the “Muhammad” biographical entry in the 1965 Encyclopedia Britannica:

Western critics have often reproached Muhammad for his own polygamy. As long as (his first wife) Khadija, who was many years older was alive, Muhammad remained unswervingly loyal to her. Among his later wives, there were two of whom he seems to have been especially fond – Aisha, his favorite, whom he married as a very young girl.

Now, Dr. William Montgomery Ward, professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Edenburg, writes that in the year 624, Mohammed “was already married to Aisha.”

Since Aisha was born in Mecca in 614, this means that she was no more than 10 years old, and probably younger, when Muhammad married her as his third – and according to her biography in the 2002 Encyclopedia – “most favored wife.”

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