Well I’ve gotten through some more of Islam’s book of books, and I must say that I’m still slightly surprised by the degree of violence it calls for. I know that I’m still not close to finishing the read (and the Old Testament isn’t exactly pretty), but there are several parts that don’t leave much room for interpretation.
For example (referring to a message Allah relayed to his constituents):
“‘I am with you’, to make those who believe firm and fast, and I will indeed strike terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So smite on your enemy’s necks and above these (on their heads) and strike off all their fingertips. This punishment is given them because they have cut themselves off from Allah and His Messenger, and whosoever opposes Allah and his messenger, as its result Allah (too) is severe in punishment. That is your punishment, so suffer some of it in this life, and know that in the Hereafter there awaits the disbelievers the torment of the Fire.”
Pretty hard to twist out of context, right? I think that’s a pretty clear message. There’s another part that basically says if you kill someone in the name of Allah that you aren’t responsible for it – its as if Allah himself killed them. If that was how we ran things, there’s a few people I wouldn’t mind taking out for the good of humanity if I didn’t have to accept responsibility for it (obviously that’s a joke).
In all seriousness though, it is difficult to argue that this kind of rhetoric isn’t dangerous.
But here’s the other side of the coin, since for the third time, I am in fact trying to be as unbiased as I can.
I did read a part (I’m searching for it but can’t find it now) that said if people are peaceful towards you, then you should be peaceful toward them.
So its definitely a mixed message. I suppose the problem, as I mentioned before, is how easy it is to interpret things to fit a particular narrative.
I hope these reflections aren’t interpreted in the wrong way. Islam isn’t exclusive in terms of its fallibilities. Most religions have gone through violent phases. But we can’t ignore what’s right in front of us. The objective truth is that the majority of these killings we’re seeing today are motivated by Islamic teachings.
Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that the Middle East has been intrusively oppressed by Western culture as of late. The war in Iraq, drone strikes, and the like have undoubtedly created a lot of animosity. But as a friend pointed out earlier today, the Middle East has been at odds long before the West came along. Perhaps its time that the Muslim community reform from within, expelling the hateful rhetoric that’s so prevalent in current events.