In light of the questions and events of the past several days related to the Boston bombings, here are some perspectives from both sides of the issue. The first are excerpts taken from an article in the internet blog Islam Online.
“Islam is a religion of peace – peace to humanity and one and all. It is a religion to lead mankind from the depths of darkness and ignorance towards the path of light and knowledge.
“A religion with such high values enshrined in its very name is misunderstood by the bulk of humans as violent and intolerant.
“The “peace” of Islam has many dimensions: peace with Allah, peace with society and peace with all of mankind irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Islam guides people to the path of non-violence and tolerance and shows the path of righteousness and piety.
“Enshrined in the Holy Quran there is no compulsion in Islam. Muslims are prohibited to force people of other faiths to accept Islam.
“Islam is non-violent and tolerant. Violence is not in the dictionary of Islam. There is no place for violence, neither in the Holy Quran nor in the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions). Moreover, the biggest violence – killing innocent people – is repudiated in such strong words the likes of which are found in no other religious scripture.
“Even in retaliation, a Muslim is not supposed to transgress. There is no permission for violence, whatsoever, in Islam at any point of time. Complete tolerance, peace and perseverance are the virtues ascribed by the religion.”
Any reasonable person cannot read those passages without having some disconnect between the Islamic point of view and the reality of the terror on the streets of
Responding to the question “If Islam is violent, why are so many Muslims peaceful?” Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch has a logical reply.
“This question is a bit like asking, if Christianity teaches humility, tolerance, and forgiveness, why are so many Christians arrogant, intolerant, and vindictive? The answer in both cases is obvious: in any religion or ideology there will be many who profess, but do not practice, its tenets.
“There are also people who do not really understand their own faith and so act outside of its prescribed boundaries. In Islam, there are many Muslims who do not really understand their religion thanks to the importance of reciting the Quran in Arabic but not having to understand it
“As Islam takes greater root — increasing numbers of followers, the construction of more mosques and cultural centers, etc. — the greater the likelihood that some number of its adherents will take its violent precepts seriously.”
Perhaps more telling are quotes from ex-Muslims who have undertaken the challenge of renouncing their former faith. Why We Left Islam: Former Muslmis Speak Out is a book of multiple testimonials edited by Susan Crimp and Joel Richardson. Here are observations from people who were once believers.
“I was six days old when my grandfather passed on his religion to me. He did so by reciting a series of Arabic words into my ear. I am quite positive that those were the only Arabic words my grandfather could recite and perhaps did not understand those words himself. We are Iranian and our language is Persian and a vast majority of Iranians, including my family, do not speak Arabic, the language of Islam. For (many) Muslims, religion is hereditary. Whether you ultimately believe is really not the issue, but it is something you are born with.”
“The majority of Muslims are trapped in denial. They are unable to and unwilling to admit the Qur’an is a hoax.”
“Muslims are cocooned in lies. Because speaking against Islam is a crime punishable by death, no one dares to tell the truth. Those who do, do not live long.”
“Most Muslims are good people. It’s Islam that makes them commit atrocities. Those Muslims who do bad things are those who follow Islam. Islam rears the criminal instinct in people. The more the person is Islamist, the more bloodthirsty, hate mongering, and the more of a zombie she or he becomes.”
It is impossible to analyze a subject so complex in a few hundred words, but we can derive some sense of the arguments from both sides. We all lived through the bombings in
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