Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Understanding Islam

Since we in the West are one of the targets for terrorist acts perpetrated by Muslims, we should understand these adversaries. Moreover, there are a lot of statements made about Islam that are questionable. I’m not an expert in Islam but I do know some things about it. Let me share with you some thoughts that might help you separate fact from fiction.

Nature of Islam

We should understand the nature of Islam in that it is both a religion and a culture. In predominantly Muslim countries the religion and the culture are so intertwined that they are inseparable. Of course the culture is heavily influenced by the religion. The terrorists aren’t particularly devout or religious in that they break a number of commands in the Qur’an by their terrorist activities. The goal of the terrorists is to establish an Islamic caliphate that would have an Islamic culture and be governed by harsh Sharia law, with the Islamic religion at its core.

What do we make of those who say we aren’t at war with Islam? My response to that statement is that we may not be at war with the religion, but we are certainly at war with those who are dedicated to imposing their culture and religion on the rest of us, replacing western culture and religions with their own repressive and often cruel brand of Islam.

Support and Approval

How many Muslims really support or approve of Islamic terrorist activities? I think we can answer that question by looking at the different segments of Islamic society:

(1) The Terrorists. These are the hard-core radicals who plan and carry out violent acts of terrorism. They do these acts against non-Muslims (mostly Christians and countries with a Christian heritage) and even against their fellow Muslims who are of a different sect (Shia vs. Sunni) or who practice their religion differently from the terrorists.

Terrorists are relatively small in number but are fanatical and willing to die for their cause.

(2) Those Who Approve. There are those Muslims who do not carry out acts of terrorism but approve of those who do, believing the terrorists are doing the will of Allah. Some of these sympathizers, mostly young men, become radicalized after listening to terrorist propaganda and may idolize ISIS or some other group of radicals. Many of these come from Europe and the U.S. where they have enjoyed the freedoms they are now trying to take away from the rest of us. For the life of me I can’t understand why these people, who have experienced such freedom, want to install repressive regimes.

(3) The Silent Majority. The vast majority of Muslims do not support terrorist activities, I suspect. Most of the radicals come out of the Middle East. Meanwhile, large numbers of Muslims live peaceably (for the most part) in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, and parts of Africa. The Silent Majority doesn’t speak up either because of fear, apathy, or they’re neutral on the subject of Islamic terrorism.

As long as the Muslim Silent Majority remains silent and Muslim countries tolerate terrorist acts, the terrorists will continue to kill Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Moderate Muslim countries must take action to put an end to terrorism or they will eventually fall. They can’t rely on the US or NATO to do their job.

What Does The Qur’an Say?

The Qur’an, their holy scriptures, says that Christians and Jews should be treated with respect. Why aren’t we seeing this respect? Unfortunately the Qur’an is somewhat double-minded in its treatment of Jews and Christians. On one hand, it portrays Jews and Christians as “People of the Book” who are to be respected, and on the other hand they are evil infidels to be conquered and even done away with. The Quran distinguishes between People of the Book and “pagans.” It considers People of the Book to be people of God, as opposed to the pagans, who worship idols.

“Behold! Those who have faith, and those who are Jews, and Christians and Sabians – those who trust in God and the Last Day, and do what is righteous, they shall have their reward; no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve.” (Sura 2:62; 5:69)

In another part of the Qur’an, Judaism and Christianity are shown as corrupted. Mohammad said:

“Had the followers of the scriptures accepted Islam, it would surely have been better for them… Ignominy shall attend them wherever they are found, unless they make a covenant with Allah or with man. They have incurred the wrath of Allah and have been utterly humbled: because they disbelieved his revelations and slew his prophets unjustly; and because they were rebels and transgressors. Yet they are not all alike. There are among the followers of the scriptures some upright men who all night long recite the revelations of Allah and worship him…” (Sura 3:106 ff)

Despite what the Quran says about Jews and Christians in one part of the book, it condemns them as “unbelievers” in another part:

For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies. (Sura 4:101)

Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. (Sura 5:51)

Fight those who believe not in God nor the last day, nor hold that forbidden by God and his apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the (poll tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Sura 5:29)

Terrorists and their supporters use passages which command them to fight “unbelievers” to justify their violent actions, even though they go against more peaceful commands in the Qur’an.

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you… and slay them wherever you catch them... and fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah. (Sura 2:190-193)

And if ye are slain or die in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they could amass. (Sura 3:157)

Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). (Sura 9:5)

Hopefully this post will give you some insight into the world of Islam.

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