Many Christian bloggers have pretty much summed up their thoughts about the article itself, the bloggers emphasise on how the article overlooks the reality of the issue, how the title of the article is inappropriate and how the words of those in favour of Ergun are laughable. I agree with those who say this.
I want to clarify something mentioned within the article. You can see the article by Christianity Today here.
The article states:
“Khan, a Muslim, says one of the most troubling aspects of Caner's presentations is mispronunciation of Arabic words in the Surah Al Fatiha, the first chapter of the Qur'an that dedicated Muslims are supposed to memorize.”
This statement is incorrect. I never said this to the gentleman who interviewed me via e-mail.
The troubling aspect of Ergun’s mentioning of Surah Al Fatiha is that he attributes it to the Shahada (declaration of faith). Ergun Caner thinks that the first few verses of Surah Al Fatiha make up the Shahada, this is wrong. So the issue is what is being said, not the pronunciation of what is being said. I honestly have no idea why the writer of the article says that I say the issue of Shahada/Surah Al Fatiha is to do with the pronunciation. It is quite clear that the writer of the article has misunderstood me and thus, does not fully comprehend the error of the Shahada.
You can read more about it here.
In order to further clarify the issue, the following are the questions I was given along with my answers. It is unedited and exactly how it was sent to the writer, so if there is any spelling or grammatical errors, I apologise in advance.
How long have you been tracking Ergun Caner's activities?
I made my first video in April 2009 at which point I did not comprehend how popular he was. I assumed he was just another anti-Islamic hate preacher trying to get famous by demonising Muslims with his discriminative and racist approach to his preaching.
What are some of the most troublesome things you've uncovered?
Some of the most troublesome things I have personally uncovered are:
· His claim to have been born in Turkey, which we know is a lie.
· His claim of English being his third language but not knowing how to speak in Arabic or Turkish.
· Articles suggest that he has debated Muslims in Arabic!
· His inability to demonstrate an ounce of knowledge with regards to the fundamentals in Islam,
o not knowing the first and most important pillar in Islam and confusing it with something which he claims to have recited 17 times a day for nearly 18 years,
o not knowing how many days there are in the month of Ramadan even though he claims to have fasted within it,
o making up names of Prophets we do not even believe in and then attributing it to our scriptures,
o confusing the eschatology beliefs of Muslims of the Sunnah (what he claims to have been and I am) with the beliefs of those who refer to themselves Shia
o plus many more
all of these being things which he an ex Sunni Muslim of 18 years should know. Even Muslims at the age 5 or 6 understand these things – so what kind of Islamic upbringing did he have that disables him from knowing the fundamentals? I understand if he was merely a Muslim by name during his very early years because of his father’s affiliation with the Islamic faith, but belief in Islam is not hereditary, rather, it is with conviction and understanding.
· He somehow memorises the so called “controversial” issues in Islam but lacks the ability to remember the things which he claims to have believed for 18 years. This clearly demonstrates that his half Turkish heritage is being used as a tool by those who order him to do this, he merely learns these “controversial” issues and then propagates them whilst using his “ex Muslim” label as a verification of the lies he speaks. Even if we agree he was not a devout Muslim, what kind of Muslim does not know the Shahada? That’s like saying you were a Christian but you don’t know who Jesus (pbuh) is. Would an “ex Christian” be considered an ex Christian if they lack the ability to demonstrate their previous beliefs? Hence the term – “fake ex Muslim”.
· His claim to have a Muslim mother when in fact she wasn’t. Pictures I acquired of him with his mother conflicts with the picture he painted to us of her. She did not wear a veil, neither did she dress in any sort of Hijab whatsoever like he says she did. It was later revealed by a Christian who attained public records that his mother was opposed to the Islamic faith, thus – not a Muslim.
· Other personal family pictures I have acquired of his childhood do not conciliate with the picture who drew us of him and his family.
· His justifications to some of his errors are laughable,
For example –
o His explanation for thinking that Ramadan is a 40 day month is that some unknown group fast for 40 days....
o His explanation for making up the name of a Prophet that we Muslims do not believe in is that there are
many Prophets in Islam which are not named, thus it is possible for even “Bob” to be a Prophet.
o Plus some others
· His constant claim to have attained a Ph.D from the University of South Africa which in fact, is a Th.D. Why would he call his Th.D a Ph.D if the same University offers course in the same field but with the end result being a Ph.D? If they are one in the same, the University would not offer two separate routes. He later edited his site to cover up this lie.
· His inability to answer my questions should concern those Christians who are under the impression that he is some sort of an Islamic expert – he isn’t.
· His deliberate fabrications into the Islamic texts.
For example – he tells people that we believe silly things like –
o in order to identify a bossy woman before you marry her, check her second toe. If it is bigger than the big
toe, then she will be bossy
o if a man and wife are not intimate for 40 days, the marriage is automatically nullified
o when Jesus returns, Muslims believe he will kill all the Christians and Jews
o black peoples testimony does not equal to that of a non-black, he then went on to say that Muslims believe the devil is a black person.
o his saying of “I was a ‘Jihadeen’, if I had reached the age to for my Hajj pilgrimage, I would have returned
as “MUJAHIDEEN””. You don’t understand the error here, but let’s just say he is making up stuff off the top
of his head and it makes us laugh.
o Plus many more
· His claim to have debated Shabir Ally on no less than two occasions. Shabir Ally would not waste his time with such racist and discriminative speakers. I met Shabir Ally in London, one of the things we discussed whist going out was Ergun’s claim to have debated him – he laughed and could not understand why Ergun would make up such a lie.
· His claim to have Arabic as his first language is backed up by literal gibberish which fools the gullible fans to who he speaks. Basically, he can’t speak Arabic or Turkish – he makes up nonsense as though he is speaking another language when he isn’t.
· He does not show any regret of lying about his own mother of father and yet those who support him claim that he uses the name Mehmet in remembrance of his father.
· He is the PRESIDENT of a THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY and I have witnessed him teaching incorrect basics not only about Islam, but also about Hinduism and Buddhism. If Hindus or Buddhists were aware of the things he gets mixed up regarding their beliefs and practises, they would be offended. So I am not quite sure how a person who lacks basic knowledge is a made a president
There are many other issues I have not mentioned.
I cannot emphasise enough, that Ergun is not doing any harm to Islam or Muslims – the people to who he is preaching these lies don’t like Islam anyway. However, it is my duty to help these gullible people understand that they are being lied to on a daily basis by a man who claims he is an expert – he isn’t, he’s a con-artist. However, Ergun’s lies are backfiring, I know of many people who embrace Islam because of the lies of these anti-Islamic hate preachers – the open-minded listeners go to verify the lies that are being said, they then read the Qur’an and find that they were being lied to and instead find a belief system which they acknowledge as being the true religion of God. I think it is very beneficial for the spread of Islam that Ergun remains in power at Liberty University, his falsehood arms his students with incorrect understandings of Islam – so when these students approach Muslims with these falsehoods, they will be gracefully corrected and not only will they realise Ergun lied to them, but they will understand Islam correctly. Thus – two birds are killed with one stone - and they will understand the desperation of Ergun and his superiors to demonise Muslims in order to divert people who are yet to embrace Islam. With a statistic of 68,000 converts every 24 hours according to John Ankerberg, their desperation is understandable.
Have you met or debated him personally?
No never. But I did sent him some comments via Facebook pre-2009 explaining that I would love to meet him in person or speak with him over the phone. He deleted these comments before anybody could see them. Why would he want people to see them? After all, he claims he is “built for confrontation” – he fans would see him as a hypocrite. I also sent him a message back in July 2009 to which he did not respond. Ergun Caner does not do debates with Muslims in contrary to some articles that suggest he has debated 2 Muslims (in a 2 on 1 format) in the presence of thousands of people and contrary to the articles that suggest he has debated Islamic leaders in Mosques etc. He states that he is able to speak with Muslims about Christianity and he is able to Christians about Islam, but he admits he cannot do both at the same time. This is due to the reason that he acknowledges his lies, and saying them in the presence of Muslims, he would be exposed for the dishonest person that he is. Why do you think he is always insistent of not advertising himself as a former Muslim? It’s not because of a “death threats” or fear for his safety – it’s because Muslims would show up and he would be exposed in the presence of his own people.
What are your goals in bringing this to the attention of others?
To enable people to realise the low levels some people have resorted to in order to discredit Islam.
To make those Christians who believe him understand that they are being constantly lied to.
To make people laugh, after all, the things he says are very humorous for Muslims to watch (without negating the seriousness of the issue).
Are you Muslim?
Yes, I adhere to the same methodology that Ergun claims he and his family adhered to, so when he mentions things I know are straight out lies/errors, I can spot them a mile away.
Are other Muslims engaged in being a watchdog in this matter?
I am not aware of any Muslims are being “watchdogs” so to speak – however - I have over a hundred people who actively support me, whilst I have over 1000 subscribers on my YouTube Channel.
Where do you live?
Born and raised in London, England.
Is Mohammad Khan your name?
Yes. Mohammad Khan is my real name, I am currently 22 years old and am pursuing a degree in Computing.
You can clearly see from the above that I never told the person asking the questions that the issue of the Shahada or Surah Al Fatiha is to do with the pronunciation. The writer has made an incorrect assumption and then wrongly attributed it to me - I have already sent him an e-mail explaining to him that the issue is not the pronunciation.
After e-mailing Christianity Today, they have changed the article. It now says:
"Behind the squabble is Mohammad Khan, a 22-year-old London-based computing student who has posted 17 talks by Caner on YouTube. The videos contain slow-motion segments superimposed with Khan's comments. Khan, a Muslim, says among the many troubling aspects of Caner's video presentations are several examples when Caner claims to be reciting the Shehada, part of the Islamic creed, when in actuality he is quoting an important prayer from the Qur'an. The two are very different."