Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Religion of Peace?

Here is a link to an article written by Alan Shlemon of Stand to Reason (it is PDF, so be patient) about Islam and it gives some citations of the Qur'an that illustrate the not-so peaceful teachings of Islam.

This is not simply about being respectful of others beliefs which is perfectly appropriate. Also, this is not about going and purposefully making enemies of those of different religions. It seems to me to be about taking one's religion seriously.

Alan writes,
"I know this because many Muslims, like Oprah’s guests, believe they’re being honest when they say Islam is a peaceful religion and treats women equally. The problem is they have no authority for making those claims. The Qur’an and their authoritative writings give ample justification to war against those who are not Muslim and to treat women as second rate humans."

Here are some examples of a few verses out of the Qur'an. The words in parentheses are the Islamic commentators notes, added for clarification).

Surah 47:4 "So, when you meet (in fight – Jihad in Allah’s Cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have
and wounded many of them…"

Surah 8:39 "And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshiping others beside Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world.]"

The commentary on this verse said that all worship will be for Allah "when Jesus, son of Mary, will descend on earth, and he will not accept any other religion except Islam."

Surah 8:59-60 "And let not those who disbelieve think that they can
outstrip (escape from the punishment). Verily they will never be able to save themselves (from Allah’s punishment). And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allah…"

Notice the commentator’s insertion of the words, "tanks, planes, missiles, artillery" indicating that Muslims believe these verses apply to today’s circumstances. In fact, Muslim scholar and apologist Abu Ala Mawdudi said, in his apologetic work Towards Understanding Islam, that "all the commands and injunctions in the Qur'an can be acted upon at any place and in any age."

To be fair, I have not studied where Schlemon got his info, but I am certain that it would not be difficult to research that. Just from those few verses, it does not seem that Islam is asking for peace with other faiths.

One main difference, it seems to me, between the violence of some Muslims, and the violence of some Christians is that violent (in regard to Skinheads)Christians are acting in opposition to what the Bible and Christ teaches, whereas the Muslims who are doing violent things (Jihad) in the name of Allah are not necessarily acting in opposition to the teachings of Muhammed.

Just because many things can be justified by appealing to the Bible, does not mean that that is the way to interpret, in context, a particular passage. Many Christians are awful at taking verses out of context, and I suppose this could be a possibility for the passages above, but I am not certain that is the case.

If Muslims are acting in Muhammed's place; that is, there are acting in accordance with what they think Muhammed and Allah are directing, their God will not punish them. Much like the whole Jihad idea that you get 70 virgins for killing infidels in Allah's name, it doen't sound as if Allah will be mad at them.

I could be wrong with my understanding on this issue, but it does not seem that Islam is a peaceful religion. There may be peaceful Muslims, genuine people who try to do good things for others, but I don't know that that represents the full teaching of Islam.

I would be open to evidence that points to the contrary because I could be mistaken. I would like to hear from some folks using the text of the Qur'an to help me understand better.



Kwame said...

Obviously, I’m not a Muslim. (Funny I should say that: TIME AND TIME AGAIN people in high school and junior college would ask me if I was a Muslim; then in later years I get these idiots on a certain e-mail discussion list who just assume that I am a Muslim and start insulting me on that basis or start quizzing me on the tenets of Islam.) Nevertheless, I remember that on some PBS program that I was watching the narrator, or someone, seemed to suggest that the Islamic passages dealing with violence toward non-Muslims pertained to the tribes or groups that attacked Muhammad’s people first.

Of course, I may have that slightly wrong; moreover, the claim of the erudite person on this program may be as trustworthy as the opinions and claims of the learned people of the Jesus Seminar. Bottom line: we might be better off if we all just read the Qur'an for ourselves, and then began to study the thing for ourselves if we are really to know what’s going on in that book.

Anyway, sad thing is: regardless of which school of Islamic thought is correct on who is being the good and faithful Muslim, since the early or mid portion of the 20th century Islam has had the status of being a de facto religion of strife and warfare, even if particular peace is preached by professed adherents of Islam. Again, Islam is a religion of peace (if only relative peace), but since the time of early or mid 20th century and the upsurge in Wohabism it has been a de facto relgion of strife, warfare, and arguably murder. As you undoubtedly know, there is no explaining this away, and the greatest sacrifices in ridding the world of the scourge of “radical Islam” perhaps should be the conservative Muslims themselves; they should know the Qur'an and Hadiths better than non-Muslims; they should know what Allah really wants of his followers and that Allah doesn’t want people killing people because someone committed blasphemy, if Allah does not want this; they should be using their numbers and power to squelch Islamic barbarism.

Agree? Disagree?

Finally, a note: I’m almost certain that the conventional spellings are “Muhammad” and “Mohammed,” not “Muhammed” as you twice spelled it, and this may be relevant. Also, skinheads don’t really form any subset of Christian and pseudo-Christian social groups, right? Some skinheads are avowedly anti-racist (of course, of course, most people do not know this), and those who are racist tend to be your neo-Nazis, and neo-Nazism hardly seems Christian--more closely tied to the CI movement if anything, which itself is a blend of old European paganism.

Resist the Islamofacist thugs!

Russ said...

In the Islam world, both sides ( if that is all there is ) see each other as the "radical". One side sees the other as radical for not killing the Americam Satan. The other side sees killing as the radical side. Both use their book of faith to back them up. Indeed, I have seen their practice as radical when there was one belief of faith practice.Let us look at their history with the British. Kindness to prisoners was not an option. Death in battle was a supreme way to get your "ticket punched" for eternal greatness. I happen to own one of their antique rifles from that era. One can clearly see that this instrument was utilized in a way not very pleasing to the enemy. Our faith seems as a totally different way to eternity than theirs. But, is it really that different? Our battles in war as The United States of America were many times blessed in the name of Jesus Christ. All of these battles were on foreign lands. A military Chaplain is seen blessing bombing squadrons as they take off on a mission. The Enola Gay dropped the ultimate bomb in the name of The United States. The slaughter of tens of thousands of men, women, and children was deemed necessary. True history will show that Japan was already defeated. This was a quick way to show force to the entire world and see how our Japanese experiment with genocide would work. I am a faithful American. I sometimes do question why certtain devices of death were utilized by our "civilized" country. It does indeed add fuel to the opposition as to what we have done as "a humanitarian" people.