So I’ve finished the Quran. It’s kind of strange because even though I’ve finished it, I still don’t know if I feel like I have all that great of an understanding of Islam, since apparently so many people interpret what I’ve read in so many different ways.
But regardless, here’s my analyses. I’m going to try and make this as simple and digestible as I can.
From what I’ve read, most religious texts have examples of heinous acts. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, you name it – the majority of religions have had terrible acts occur in their name in the past.
Here’s the fundamental difference that I think most people have a hard time acknowledging: in the Bible, for example, there are a lot of justified actions in the Old Testament. A lot of killing done in the name of God. This is paralleled in the Quran, with many beheadings, hand choppings, and the like. So there’s no argument there. Both are violent. The difference I’m getting at is this – in the Quran, there are several passages that explicitly instruct its readers to take violent action against humanity (unbelievers). Now admittedly it’s been quite some time since I’ve read the Bible, but to my knowledge I don’t recall a part of the New Testament (widely regarded as Christianity’s “how to act”) that explicitly tells Christians to kill, maim, or hurt other people. Sure, maybe it says you go to Hell if you don’t accept Christ (another thing I disagree with), but it doesn’t say to harm people.
Islam, on the other hand, does.
So that’s the simplest explanation I think I can give as to what the difference is that’s causing these acts. Islam (at certain points in its text) actually tells its followers to do bad stuff. Other religions don’t. They may justify bad stuff – but they don’t say do bad stuff. Again, if someone can prove me wrong, I’m all ears and I’ll be the first to say I’m wrong. But to the best of my memory, I can’t recall a part of any other book that says yes – kill people that don’t believe.
To be fair, there are also plenty of passages in the Quran that preach peace. As I mentioned before, there is a part that says if others are peaceful that you are to be peaceful.
So I suppose the problem lies in the wide variety of ways in which the Quran can be interpreted. Whereas the Bible and other religious texts are relatively straightforward in how to act, the Quran is a seemingly much more complex manuscript of mixed messages.
At the end of the day, I think the only thing that’s going to end this violent extremism is reform from within the Muslim community. There are plenty of peaceful, good Muslims that are ashamed at how their religion has been tainted by the actions of radicals. I think this is another thing that’s important to keep in mind – Muslims are humans, no different than us. They are, the vast majority at least, peaceful, kind, normal people that simply want to coexist in a world without violence. It’s the unfortunate minority that’s giving them a bad name. So as far as how to move forward, please keep this in mind when passing judgements among our fellow humans. Be aware of the bigger picture.
Hopefully there will be some form of organized effort to quell this violent trend. Some may argue that it’s always existed, but I doubt anyone would disagree that it’s been much worse as of late.
One day, I hope we can all get along.