While skimming the Internet a while back…
“To the editor:
The two most common errors promoted by the politically correct, including our president and the media, are that Islam is a religion of peace and that not all Muslims are terrorists. First, if Islam is a religion of peace, then why do so many Muslims in so many different places use it as a pretext for violence and war without objections by other Muslims? What religion besides Islam urges its adherents to lie to (taqiya) and kill (jihad) infidels? Second, if not all Muslims are terrorists, how do you know which ones you can trust? As the 9-11 report stated, active terrorists number in the thousands, but millions of Muslims worldwide hate Israel and America (and other non-Muslim countries) and endorse deception and violence as the means to the ultimate and universal triumph of Islam.
Such questions like the ones posed in this letter are endless; if you are a Muslim you have unofficially been granted the role to explain every nuance in Islamic affairs. I’ve become a broken tape recorder reiterating the same answer.
But then I thought about the media; the inexorable propaganda to color the entire Muslim world as terrorists; this made me rethink. Maybe Zip sincerely doesn’t know what Islam is about. Maybe the only news channels he watches are Fox News and CNN (as a placard stated: CNN: precision guided propaganda); maybe he listens to radio programs like the Savage Nation; maybe his only information about Islam is from books by Salman Rushdie.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked in his final speech, shortly before he died, whether he had delivered the message. His Ummah answered with a resounding yes. He was sent by God to deliver a message, as all other prophets before him were ordained.
Muslims try to follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him); our duty is to convey the message. How much more important this is now, more than ever, when some so called Muslims are trying to convey an entirely alien religion, in the guise of Islam.
Most of us (me included) have failed in those respects. Some of us are shy to talk about our religion because we don’t want to seem like we are forcing anyone to convert; some of us are scared to say anything about Islam because it is seen as a terrorist religion; others don’t even want to be known as Muslims: they change their name, take off their scarf or beard, and assimilate into the American culture.
But then I read a question like this, and I’m given two options: consider the person ignorant and ignore it like the thousands of other such proclamations made on a daily basis in every avenue of the media, or endeavor to be understanding and answer the question, even though the author of the letter will probably never come across this response. I will answer it not only for Zip, but for others who have similar questions.
“First, if Islam is a religion of peace, then why do so many Muslims in so many different places use it as a pretext for violence and war without objections by other Muslims?”
First of all, let us get this straight off the bat: over one billion Muslims live in the world. Less than 20% of Muslims are of Arab descent. Muslim countries include Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Maldives, Turkey, Morocco, India, Mauritania, Albania, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Senegal, Tunisia… I’m sure you are getting tired now and get the point.
There are also Muslims living in European countries such as France, Germany, Britain, and Ireland. And let us not forget about the land of the free: Muslims also live in America. Although whether America is still free, is coming slowly under debate.
Islam is a religion of peace; the root word of ‘Islam’ means peace, meaning we attain peace when we surrender to God. I would recommend Zip to go read a biography of our Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him). His example was one of peace and compassion throughout his life. At a moment, when he could have punished the Meccans, after they had spent over a decade persecuting and murdering his followers, he entered Mecca and forgave all of them.
Muslims greet each other with words of peace: Assalam Alakium translated means, (peace be unto you). A Muslim is one who does not get angry, does not harm his fellow human beings, does not harm God’s creation including animals and plants, etc. An ideal Muslim is one who is at peace with God and the world, a model all Muslims are striving towards.
As for Muslims objecting to terrorist attacks, the entire Muslim world including: governments, scholars, and ordinary Muslim citizens, consistently reiterate that terrorism has no place in Islam. It goes against our basic teachings in the Quran.
In the Quran God says: “You shall not kill yourselves.” (4:29)
God also says in the Quran (5:32): “If you kill one person it’s as if you kill all of humanity.”
Islam forbids in the strongest terms the killing of innocent people. God says there is hell for anyone who disobeys Him; all religions have this basic principle: you shall not kill.
There are bad apples in all religious groups; why is Islam singled out continually as being the only religion where some of its adherents go against their own teachings? Again the fault of the media, and the inadequate knowledge most people have about Islam.
To read more about Muslims who have come out and condemned terrorism please visit this site:
Yes, in Islam when people are oppressed and killed unjustly, Muslims have a right to defend themselves. Quite a reasonable thing and I think most human beings understand a right to self defense.
If someone comes to invade your home, will you not try to protect your property? If you just got a threat that your child might be kidnapped, will you not go to alert the police?
Let us take another example: say Canada decided to invade the United States, because of our resources, because Canada is getting dry; they need fresh farmland.
Let us also pretend that Canada did not see anything wrong with the indiscriminate killing of women and children in order to achieve their objective: occupy America. And now say that Canadian soldiers killed your family and were killing your neighbors and all those around you. Are you going to fight to defend your country from invasion or are you going to sit back and watch while everyone is slaughtered including yourself?
I’m sure most of you get the point. It is not within logic to ask people to do nothing when they are being killed and oppressed. It is imperative to defend, in order that peace and justice may be restored.
John Bambenek an academic professional at the University of Illinois writes:
“Something has always bothered me about declarations that claim Islam is a violent religion. Largely relying on circumstantial evidence, because the regions that are typically the most violent tend to be Islamic, the argument goes that Islam is a violent religion. I haven’t read the Koran that I was sent by CAIR yet to decide for myself, but the claim sounds eerily similar to those that come from another sector of society.
The problem I have with this line of reasoning is that if you take history from a few hundred years ago, it could just as easily be applied to Christianity, and in fact, many secular “thinkers” continue to argue that Christianity breeds nothing but violence.”
So can I say that Christianity believes in violence? No, I can’t.
On some forums, I’ve read Christians who wrote to say that they were happy to see the killing of the people in Lebanon including the children. Of course, I was very disturbed, but because I’ve known Christians, and I know the teachings of Jesus (peace be on him) is filled with mercy and peace, I know this woman doesn’t represent Christianity but a group within it; just as terrorists represent a group of Muslims and not the one billion Muslims around the world.
“What religion besides Islam urges its adherents to lie to (taqiya) and kill (jihad) infidels?”
In Islam, the best moral character is stated time and time again in the Quran:
By the soul and Him who fashioned it and then inspired it with wrong action and fear of God; he is truly successful who causes it to grow and purifies it and he is a failure who corrupts and destroys it. (Quran91:7-1O)
God also says in the Quran:
Pure speech rises up to Him and He raises up good deeds still further. (Quran 35:10)
“For they have been guided to the purest of speeches …” (Quran 22:24)
God, says the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) had the most excellent character. Lying in Islam is haram (forbidden), and is considered one of the many sins of the tongue including: slandering, backbiting, vain talk, etc.
The Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once said: “The most excellent jihad is the speaking of truth in the face of a tyrant.” A Muslim is ever vigilant about the tongue, because the tongue can commit so many sins with relative ease, Muslims are supposed to take pause before saying anything.
In the case that a life is being threatened, a lie becomes acceptable. Some of the early believers of Islam were persecuted by idolaters. One young man watched his mother die because she refused to return back to idolatry.
The Meccans threatened to kill the man unless he converted back to idolatry. He lied to the Meccans and said he had given up Islam, although in his heart he had not.
When the young man related this later to the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him), he consoled him and said that what he did was fine in the eyes of God because his life had been in danger, as long as he did not give up faith in his heart.
For more information visit Islam Online
Concerning the killing of infidels, let me point out that anyone can take verses from the Quran, and construe them as they please. The Quran cannot always be fully understood from one verse; there are verses that precede and follow it, and must be taken into account to comprehend the full picture. One does not get a full picture from cherry picking.
In Islam, it is not allowed to kill innocent people and in war a Muslim is not allowed to kill women, children, the elderly, and religious people like priests, monks, rabbis, etc.
Fighting is permitted when Muslims are attacked and there is injustice, and fighthing is only against those who are fighting Muslims. More information can be found at the above site.
“Second, if not all Muslims are terrorists, how do you know which ones you can trust?”
I’ll just make a point of saying that if there were a billion terrorists in the world, I would not be writing this post right now, because I and the rest of the world would have been annihilated long ago.
Zip, I would recommend going to a local masjid (it is like the church or synagogue for Muslims) nearby and ask some community leaders to sit down with you for a discussion about Islam and Muslims. Muslims are always willing to discuss such topics with anyone who has questions or doubts. You will find that most Muslims are friendly, and are not terrorists, but law abiding citizens, who care about this country and its values.
I do have an interesting question to ask: If Muslims are all terrorists and Islam preaches violence, then why is Islam the fastest growing religion in the world, including in America and Europe? Hmm…that is something to ponder. There are even people turning to Islam in Bush’s home state, Texas. If interested, google in Turning Muslim in Texas to watch the video.
“As the 9-11 report stated, active terrorists number in the thousands, but millions of Muslims worldwide hate Israel and America (and other non-Muslim countries) and endorse deception and violence as the means to the ultimate and universal triumph of Islam.”
Muslims do have something against the policies of America and Israel. America’s blind support of Israel’s inhumane treatment and killing of Palestinians grieves Muslims much. And America’s continued occupation of Iraq and the killing of people for weapons of mass destruction that never existed, is another grievance.
Americans need to educate themselves on the policies the US government, and what is going on in the world, so that they won’t be mystified when they find Muslims are against oppression and killing.
Islam does not endorse deception and violence as I mentioned earlier regarding lying. In history, Islam triumphed due to the justice and moral character of its adherents. As it states in the Quran: “There should be no coercion in the matter of faith.” (2:256)
Muslims did not force people to convert at the sword, as is so mistakenly ingrained in Western belief. Islam did not triumph through deception and violence, because God does not give victory to those who do wrong. If we are attacked, then we have a right to defend ourselves.
As it happened, Islam became dominant in many lands through Muslim contact. Islam would not have been able to hold its domain in so many countries had it had forced people at the sword to become Muslims; fear doesn’t create stability, and people would have rebelled.
Part of the reason why Islam became predominant in so many places outside of Mecca and Medina is because there were many groups in Christian controlled lands, who were oppressed and not happy with the Christians rule; these people welcomed the Muslims. Islam would not have had such an overwhelming victory without people willing to give Islam a chance as an alternative.
What most Americans fail to realize or study in history is that when the Ottoman Empire fell, the Muslim world drastically changed. It fell in large part because of the betrayal of an Arab named Hussein, who was overtaken by nationalism, which is a disease still plaguing the Muslim world. Britain and France carved out what we see today of the Muslim countries.
Not only that, but the Western powers encouraged and worked to install governments that would accommodate their interests; leaders who did not really care anything about Islam, but essentially power, and they would do whatever the West called for. Muslims call them puppet regimes. These leaders are still vastly in evidence today: they do not care anything about Islam, and they suppress their people.
The result is that the Muslim world pushed to emulate the technological advancement of the West at the cost of Islam. There is a crisis in the Muslim world: there are not enough scholars left. Most Muslims are studying to be lawyers and doctors.
Some Muslims are only Muslim in name; Islam has no part in their lives. When I was in the Muslim world I found Muslims drinking, dating, cheating, and distracted by money. There are a lot of Muslims who do not even read the Quran anymore. Ignorance of Islam is pervasive even among Muslims.
Coupled to it, we have the dangerous ingredient of injustice and grievance.
Let me put this as plain as possible: Jews, Muslims, and Christians were all living in peace in Palestine until European Jews arrived and stole their land. Instead of sharing, they forced Palestinians to give up their land, their businesses, and now they are walling them off in West Bank and Gaza.
Palestinians are very upset, and they feel that they have been treated unjustly, and Israel won’t even offer an apology.
And the formula: Israel = right and the rest of the Middle East = wrong, does not stroke much compassion among Muslims. Installing puppet regimes, who suppress and kill their own people breeds quite a bit of hostility towards those who are responsible. Sending weapons from America to Israel, so that more children can be killed, just about cuts off any good will left for the West.
Do not be surprised if you find that many people in America have no idea about any of this; they believe that Arabs and Jews have been fighting forever, a continual cycle. Nothing they can do about it. More than 50 years ago, Jews and Arabs were living in peace among each other; it was only when Palestine became occupied that the relations shifted toward anger and hurt.
Here is the hard truth: our government’s foreign policy has indirectly bred terrorism. It is a sore that our government has left festering, with no action to try to heal it. Things left to fester, unfortunately tend to explode.
Hamas and the PLO did not exist before the occupation of Palestine. Terrorism does not materialize out of the thin air. Newton’s 3rd law states: every action has an equal but opposite reaction; it is a reaction to oppression and injustice, and it is from frustration when someone feels there is nothing left.
While Palestinians were crying for help, Americans were apathetic; they really just didn’t care. They told the Palestinians to be quiet and accept their occupation and gave full support to Israel to do whatever Israel liked.
A country like America that can change things for the good, to have turned away from the Palestinians, and supported Israel in their theft of land, did not bode well for the Muslim opinion of the West.
Our ignorance and indifference to what our government was forging in the Middle East, (pain and hurt) has come at a heavy price, and we will continue to reap this until we as Americans make a stand: America’s Middle East policy needs drastic revisions.
America has recently decided to masqueade its invasion into Muslim lands, as a means of installing democracy. Muslims laughed when we first heard it, but now we are crying. Current democratic fiasco: Iraq.
When America says democracy, Muslims don’t tend to believe that anymore, though I’m sure most American citizens sincerely believe that our government’ s purpose is only that. Wake up my fellow Americans; our government has different plans entirely.
Muslims ask: “Then why if America is concerned for our democracy, did they overthrow a democratically elected leader in Iran, and install the Shah, who with the help of the Mossad, trained a censor group called Savak, a group that tortured Iranian citizens.”
By the way, this group was created under the guidance of the CIA. This outrage created the Iranian Revolution, and that was goodbye for Shah.
When Palestinians democratically elected, Hamas, American leaders refused to deal with them. The message America sends to the Middle East: we are not here for democracy, rather for oil and resources.
As an American, I see a lot of disaster ahead unless Americans revive from their ignorance and apathy. I’ve talked with numerous Americans since the Iraq war and I’ve read comments on forums: I’ve seen that Americans are beginning to educate themselves about the Middle East.
Perhaps there is change on the horizon. But we must continue to educate others; speak out against what is clearly wrong, even if it might be uncomfortable; we have to tell our government that what we are doing is self-destructive and not in the interests of our country.
When the Iraq war first began, those who spoke out in opposition were considered unpatriotic. I don’t consider a person patriotic who stands by while they watch their country falling into the abyss. Carl Schurz said: Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right, when wrong to be put right.
This country was founded on freedom and justice. Now our very constitution is being eroded, our rights are being taken away, and there are not many who appear to be paying attention. America was founded on great ideals, ideals we are losing day by day.
There are a billion Muslims in the world watching America support and help in oppression. So while there are not a billion Muslim terrorists, there are about a billion upset Muslims.
Some of them are going to become terrorists because our policies push them over the edge; because their are power hungry groups out their with their own version of Islam, who are recruiting young men who are angry; because many Muslims have seen their family and their children killed, their livelihoods stolen from them, their homes taken from them, while the world watches and does nothing to stop the suffering and oppression; because maybe that young man will listen to those deviant terrorist groups because he has nothing left to lose after losing everything else, except his life, and that doesn’t mean much more anymore, when no one else in the world seems to care about his very life; because he will see this as a way to defend his country, his people, and seek justice for a world that refuses to give it to him, no matter how misguided this attempt is; because he is ignorant about his faith; because he doesn’t know the Quran forbids killing innocent people and committing suicide, the religious scholar of his community is in jail, because the scholar was encouraging people to return back to prayer and spoke out against the corrupt puppet leaders.
This is a plea for any Muslim youth who might be reading this: we have enough doctors, scientists, engineers, and lawyers. It is time for us, to start thinking about studying Islam. We need scholars to guide our youth to the correct and pure Islam, and crush those who have been hijacking our religion for their own corrupted means.
Let us Muslims face it; the West will probably remain apathetic, because it is a problem happening far away. I would guess this is somewhat normal for human nature; we cannot really feel anything until we experience it directly.
It is time for Muslims to diffuse these terrorists, and cleanse the pollution from the few who are trying to compromise our faith.
I know there are Americans out there totally against what is going on in the Middle East, and I hope this continues to grow, because we need as much help as we can get.
People need to stop labeling all Muslims as terrorists; instead ask the more important questions of why some Muslims are turning down that destructive path. We need to extract the disease at the root and not cut around the borders.
Racial profiling, securing borders, spying on Muslims, putting Muslims in concentration camps etc, that really is not going to help at all. We need to get rid of terrorism completely and that is by being just in our foreign policy. As long as there is injustice there will always be terrorism.
And Muslims must work to educate their fellow Muslims about Islam. Teach them the Quran and the example of our Prophet, which is not one of violence but respect, justice and mercy towards all of God’s creation.
This is a two-way street that needs participation from both sides. We need to work together as human beings to bring justice for all of the world.
Zip had legitimate questions that I endeavored to answer; whether the above has answered his questions or not, whether it has changed any view points, is a matter I cannot worry about.
As God reminded the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) numerous times in the Quran, when his people rejected his message: the Prophet’s duty was to deliver the message, and leave the rest up to God.
For further information please read the Concept of Justice in Islam