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Discussion: Is Islam religion of Peace?

Some weeks ago I send a group message addressed to friends and colleagues of mine containing web links to a slide-show posted on Jerusalem Online.

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/terror1.asp

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/terror2.asp

I have got an immediate response from a coursemate:

Hey,
My feeling in response to this propaganda presentation is that it is entirely counterproductive, unnecessarily provocative, divisive, and littered with offensive, inappropriate references taken out of context. At a time when, I believe, all of us should be building cultural and religious bridges (not erecting more of them), this chunk of creepy video should be lightly tossed in the nearest trash bin. That’s just my opinion.
What do you think?
J.

Another response from a friend of mine gave a start to a relatively long lasting debate on that topic. It was not originally intended to be posted online and style and language might not be good enough as well as some facts and dates could be provided wrongly, but I thought it would be good idea to get it publicly discussed. Here it is:

*******
Hi,

The subject of your email is not well placed. (The subject of my e-mail was – A fake face of Islam. Kamron) There was nothing there that attacks Islam as a religion.

As I was reading through the site you sent below, I realized there wasn’t anything contemptuous or wrong about it. What were featured were actually facts highlighted with dramatic music background. That’s all.

I admit that i am an admirer of David Horowitz because of his support for the homosexual agenda, but it does not cloud my thoughts. My take on the site is simple: it speaks of the truth that there are Muslims out there who have taken the jihad theology and ideology way far off. Similarly, there are Christians and Hindis and other members of various religious groups who have gone astray — who have taken and interpreted religious beliefs out of context.

I say this again, your subject matter is not correct. Violent jihad is a constant of Islamic history. How can you say that «terrorism» (please excuse me for a lack of better word that best describes the emotional effect of the acts done in the guise of religious doctrine) is not a face of Islam when the holy war, jihad, is considered a religious duty to a Muslim?

I quote:

» Sahih Bukhari, which Muslims regard as the most trustworthy of all the many collections of traditions of Muhammad, records this statement of the Prophet: «Allah assigns for a person who participates in (holy battles) in Allah’s Cause and nothing causes him to do so except belief in Allah and in His Messengers, that he will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr).»

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a pioneering historian and philosopher, was also a legal theorist. In his renowned Muqaddimah, the first work of historical theory, he notes that «in the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.» In Islam, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with «power politics,» because Islam is «under obligation to gain power over other nations »

However, i am sure that great Prophet also preached about love and respect of others. Something that is more important in the greater scheme of things — something that should have been highlighted most in the teachings of Islam and in that of all other religions instead. I read somewhere that Islam also spread across the Sahara, and the Indian Ocean, via trades on camels and ships. A proof that Islam may be spread without shedding a drop of blood.

The reality remains that everything quoted in that site happened. Nothing was fabricated or unfounded (may be exaggerated). The sad fact remains that unless we acknowledge co-existence, we will never be at peace.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of Muslim friends and that includes you. My relationship with them is rooted with a deep sense of respect and friendship. What I am saying here is that bad guys exist regardless of religion, color or race. We have the facts. We both know them.

My prayer remains that Muslims will develop a vision of jihad that is consistent with modernity and international human rights law. Otherwise, jihad as practice and as a religious or political tool should be curbed by all means.

/R

*******

Hi,

Thanks a lot for your opinion. Regardless the fact I do not agree with some of its parts, I do appreciate it.
You know in order to get a real notion of Jihad and everything related to it you have to be aware of not only theological side of its history but also socio-political aspects of the Phenomenon, since as you noticed Jihad is a political tool, and nowadays it is more political tool than anything else. Unfortunately some people use that controversial theory in order to gain power and money and fame, using as excuse spreading a word of Islam. Whereas the others do the same with an excuse of spreading «freedom» and democratic values — you know whom I mean.

You may have noticed, only (or mainly) Middle East and Afghanistan is the place where we hear a lot of things about Jihad. And again you have to look deeper at history in order to understand the specificity of that region. Peoples of Middle East have suffered a lot from Western world. Western countries have been exploiting local people and enjoying their natural resources for decades and even centuries. As long as Islam is strongly incorporated in political and social systems of those countries it is not surprising why exactly Jihad (and I am confident it is wrong) is selected as a tool of liberty.

Anyways, one should keep in mind that there are over billion of Muslims all over the world. All those people including me practice that religion with out any harm to the rest. Thus, that is a real face of Islam, regardless what they say, regardless what history says (you know there are always dark spots in it) that is a real face of Islam. Moreover, choosing a subject to my letter I did not mean to deny facts you have pointed out, but I meant to question any inadequate impression which might appear after watching of that propaganda material.

«How can you say that «terrorism» is not a face of Islam when the holy war, jihad, is considered a religious duty to a muslim?» —

That is an unfortunate indication that a lot of bright and intelligent people like you are misled by facts and figures and a goal of those dark minded people is in part achieved.

Anyways, thanks a lot for that interesting discussion.
Best regards

*******

Hi,

In response to your concern about some of us who may have misconceptions about Islam, i would like to share with you this movie (which a good Muslim friend has shared to me in my website).

After you have watched this movie, tell me if any of our notions towards Islam is unfounded and subjective?

Tell me which is the lesser evil: the educated who believes in the existence of radical Islam or the ignorant who believes in radical Islam?

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2D7_DPhDBo&mode=related&search =
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij5jfmEhUHk&mode=related&search =
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCA8ldF0KzU&mode=related&search =
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hFywMAn5k4&NR=1

After watching the movie I have had questions, some of which i will dare to ask you . . . . .

You say there millions of Muslims like you who practice Islam without doing any harm to others. Why don’t i see these millions condemning or making noise about the evil acts of the «few» radical Muslims? Is it fear or tolerance?

Why do the moderate Muslim allow Muslim kids in the East to be reared with hatred towards non-Muslims? I am angered by the fact that kids are being taught in schools about the propaganda of hate. The indoctrination of the youth to a culture of hate is disturbing and i cannot stop myself from getting angry while watching these kids profess their intentions to be suicide warriors! Again, what are the rest of the Muslims doing about this? If Muslims really want the world to know Islam as a religion of peace, start by teaching the kids to play and enjoy their youth and the world.

I have faith in the vast majority of good Muslims, I just wish that they will not allow the minority radical Muslims to prevail and will start breaking their silence and take bigger steps to cure the growing cancer in the same body they share — Islam.

/R

*******

Hi,

First of all let me thank you for those links, I did really like that documentary.

Second of all, I am happy we are moving up to the next (more complicated) stage of the discussion, although I must admit you not really ready to do it, since it requires some historical, political, cultural and theological insight to that topic.

But let me try to answer your questions and I’ll start with the last one which I consider the most important.

What are the rest of the muslims doing about this?

Nothing, almost nothing. In order to answer your question I tried to find evidences of condemnation of Radical Islam (I would use that term instead of Islamic Terrorism) by Muslim World. Although I found several ones, I do believe that it is not enough, since those low voices are not heard by radicals and even if heard not taken into account. I was expecting that at some point you will come up with that question.

Tell me which the lesser evil is: the educated who believes in the existence of radical Islam or the ignorant who believes in radical Islam?

Most probably I did not get your point correctly, but anyways I don’t find educated person admitting the existence of radical Islam as evil, regardless to its extent. Radical Islam does exist! It is evil! But it does not give a right to anyone to generalize and make the rest Muslim world responsible for that.

Why do the moderate Muslims allow Muslim kids in the East to be reared with hatred towards non-Muslims?

The question should sound like «Why does moderate (which is arguable) Muslim in the East allow kids to be reared with hatred ….. »
A Muslim who allows his child to learn that awful stuff is either absolutely ignorant or not moderate Muslim at all. Thanks to Allah I was not taught to hate other religious, nor my counterparts. So, that is again matter of region (Middle East) which I pointed out at the very beginning. It is very pity that children are being a tool in hands of ignorant and uncivilized people.

The comparison provided in that documentary regarding Hitler Youth and schools in particular countries of Middle East (not all) are also very reasonable. Recalling Nazi regime I would point out that Humanity always creates an evil and then suffers and struggles against it, when it is too late to start struggle and too many lives have gone. You must know that during the first decade of Hitler’s regime The Third Reich was supported by «civilized» nations as a counter balance to Communist threat which was considered to be the biggest evil. Even Czechs were sacrificed by for the sake of what Chamberlain called Peace and only after half of Europe was occupied Major Powers have realized the sad reality.

After Second World War United Nations deiced to create a State of Israel in the territory of a former British colony a part of which is now called Palestinian Occupied Territory — the place inhabited by Arabs for centuries. I am not anti-Semitic but that was a big mistake, at least that should have been carried out in a more well thought-out and cautious way. Unfortunately the humanity got a long lasting (seems like never ending) Arab-Israeli conflict.

In early 1980’s when Soviet Union illegally intervened in Afghan territory (doing the same mistake as US did in Vietnam) the United States were implicitly supporting (mainly through Pakistan) Majaheds providing them with arms. In 1990’s those people called themselves Taliban!!! In 2001 US were fighting against them. Today they are still powerful and controlling a considerable part of Afghanistan.

In late 1990’s Tajikistan has suffered a civil war because of radicals while Uzbekistan and Russia suffered from Terrorist attacks. Chechen terrorists attacking civilians in Russia from 1997 to 2000 were called by western «civilized» nations as rebels fighting for freedom of Chechnya. After series of terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan in 1999 our President coming to Istanbul summit addressed world leaders urging them to fight terrorism, especially UK to eliminate headquarters (!!!) of Hizbut-Takhrir in London. But other’s problems could hardly touch them …

NYC 2001 9/11, … London 2005 , … Madrid — now Islamic Terrorism is problem number 1 globally. But unfortunately Radical Islam is much stronger now than it used to be.

You have to understand that I am not trying to justify, but rather to understand WHY it happened?
It is always difficult to answer the «WHY» question. One must be able to analyze maintain as much objectivity as possible.

And here we are back to your questions —

After you have watched this movie, tell me if any of our notions towards Islam is unfounded and subjective?

That is the main problem, even in that documentary and in many sources «experts» instead of being specific and say Arabs, Radicals, Palestinians, they say just Muslims, they say just Islam. I understand that people watching the same documentary get its plot differently, but I just refer to the same source (I believe part 2) which urges watchers to avoid stereotypes and generalizations.

One of the worst things both Radicals and some non-Muslims do is quoting Quran which arguably calls Muslims to kill. You will find the answer to that problem as well, and then I hope you will understand that while dealing with Muslim, attempts to point out and interpret different suras from Qur’an and argue that his/her religion is not religion of Peace and it is a priori source of terrorism, all of that just create a frustration and sometimes aggression leading to different types of conflicts or at least tension.

If Muslims really want the world to know Islam as a religion of peace, start by teaching the kids to play and enjoy their youth and the world.

This another generalization, probably directed not to me and not to all Muslims, but if yes, it would be very politically incorrect and absolutely unacceptable.

My best regards,

P.S. If you have spare time please look at links below which not only support but also argue my position.

Islam and terrorism
http://islam.about.com/od/terrorism/f/terrorism.htm
http://islam.about.com/od/terrorism/f/terrorism_verse.htm

Is Islam a religion of Peace
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/AboutSite.htm

Islam and antisemitism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_antisemitism

Are Christians and Jews believers according to Qur’an?
http://friendfinder.com/intgroups/gi179/qi87476/acview_thread_message.html

*******

Hi,

I agree that my knowledge on Islam history, its battle-cries, and what not, are limited. However, I take offense from the insinuation that my ineptitude on the subject matter earns me no merit to get angry to what you also agree to be evil and appalling! I am furious to be compared to those who are condemned in the documentary. If it is wrong to get angry because Muslim kids are maltreated, used, tricked and robbed of their youth, then I REFUSE TO BE RIGHT.

«If Muslims really want the world to know Islam as a religion of peace, start by teaching the kids to play and enjoy their youth and the world. —
This is another generalization, probably directed not to me and not to all Muslims, but if yes, it would be very politically incorrect and absolutely unacceptable»

The question is intended for all Muslims and is NOT politically incorrect because it was stated in the context of the fact that Muslim Kids in East are deceived and misled. It is NOT an attack to Islam as a religion NOR an offensive remark against Muslims. It is NEVER politically incorect to suggest others to do the right thing — as it is the absolute and obvious. It was NEVER my intention to insult you or Muslims in general.

How much knowledge does one need to distinguish good from bad? How much awareness of the past does one need to be able to have the right to say that taking the lives of others for whatever reason is barbaric? How much understanding of the culture must one attain to earn the voice to question, if not condemn, the indifference of people who say that terrorism is wrong and definitely not Islamic, yet are silent, if not hesitant to speak out?

But then again, my questions are not sound because I have yet to understand the history and the roots of the problem despite the common knowledge that thousands of lives have already been lost.

The question i asked: «Why do moderate Muslims allow Muslim kids in the East to be reared with hatred towards non-Muslims?» is meant EXACTLY that way. My intention is to address ALL Muslims not just those in the East. I believe it is the responsibility of everyone BUT PRIMARILY of ALL Muslims to address such wrong doing inflicted on Muslim kids.

I find it ridiculous how you conveniently «regionalize» the problem. It is as if you have a pile of shit in your living room and you say your house is not a mess because there are other rooms in the house where others can dwell without smelling the deadly stench.

In one of the links you shared it says that where Muslims are majority, there is a systematic discrimination and oppression of those who practice other faiths — and where Muslims are minority, there is rebellion, terror and disloyalty. But then again, you might say that I must understand history.

You say:

«You have to understand that I am not trying to justify, but rather to understand WHY it happened? It is always difficult to answer the «WHY» question. One must be able to analyze maintain as much objectivity as possible.»

From that same link i quote:

«We cannot continue to think that the solution to the violence is greater understanding and tolerance for Islam, as Muslim apologists often imply when offering rare commentary on high-profile terror attacks. It is the killers and their supporters who need lessons in tolerance and understanding, not their victims.»

Other than the fact that there seem to be no substantial steps taken by the moderate Muslim to address these issues, You missed out one question that i asked: Why don’t i see the millions of moderate Muslims condemning or making noise about the evil acts of the «few» radical Muslims? Is it fear or tolerance? The reason why I asked this is because — in the news you see Muslims in the UK and US rally on streets for equal rights and opportunity and other petty issues. However, I have never seen them publicly denounce the terrorist acts of the radical Muslims. Is fear to be branded heretic or traitor to Islam? or Is it indifference?

«Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.» — Malcolm X

If the above quotation were true, I wish we all get angry and bring about change! But then again, history should tell us.

With my limited knowledge, i have contemplated that unless we see Muslims rise above their own biases and speak out to condemn the criminal acts of their brothers who have gone astrayed, unless we see them combating and eradicating the misinterpretation of their religion, the conflict will remain and sadly will worsen. But then again, what do i know?

«This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anyone could have.» Unknown Author

These four people need not study history to get the job done. They should have simply done the obvious. To put things candidly, even shoes know the answer — NIKE’s tag line: JUST DO IT!

Peace,

/R

*******

Hi,
Too pity you have ignored my argument on Western Worlds implicit support of terrorism before 9/11 (Chechen Islamic Radicals invited to US Congress and State Department for «talks», Hizbut-Takhrir office functioning openly in UK for many years while that organization was exploding people in Central Asia killing Mulsims), on the other hand making Muslims around the World responsible and even guilty for non-adequate reaction.

You know, I am the person who treats people regardless their nationality, religion, sexual orientation and political views. And I would use the same approach in discussing that problems. We all HUMAN BEINGS are touched by any act against HUMANITY — Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and etc.

I believe it is the responsibility of everyone BUT PRIMARILY of ALL Muslims to address such wrong doing inflicted on Muslim kids.

WHY??? Why primarily Muslims all of over the world should be responsible ??? Because we share common religion with those bastards? We share common thoughts with any radical when we both say «Allahu Akbar», BUT there is nothing in common between us when he thinks that he must kill people because Qur’an says so. (I hope you know now what Qur’an says about that if you looked at all links, not only those quoted). So, if I don’t share that believe with Ahmed from Palestine, why do I have to be responsible more than Fernando from Philippines? Why do I have to do more then he does?

You know I am equally concerned about those kids in Middle East and kids in the US killing each other in high schools continuously. I am equally concerned about terrorist acts committed by radical Muslims in London and Madrid and the same destructive acts committed in UK and Spain by Irish Republican Army and Basks Organizations. Because I consider Arab and American kids equally innocent, I consider crimes done by Irish and Basks and Arabs equally terrible.

*******

Hi,

This is not about you as a person or your personal convictions. Keep that in mind as we discuss.

You asked WHY Muslims should be primarily responsible? The answer is simple: because Muslims are in better position to explain to their fellow Muslims what Islam faith is all about. No one else! Certainly, a is in no position to tell you or any other Muslim to do more. But what should an ordinary man who has limited understanding of the faith of Islam do but to encourage Muslims to take bolder steps and work hand-in-hand with other faithful to abolish this crime against humanity? Is it wrong for anyone to suggest that?

I did not ignore your argument on the «implicit» support of US and UK to terrorism. I didn’t dwell on that topic because, again, you are trying to shift the blame to others instead of focusing on what Muslims could have done given their strong belief about how the US and UK governments infuse money and arms to support these radical groups? Instead, I wanted you to realize that what most Muslims want us to do is to understand the bigger picture and stop blaming them solely for the crimes; that there are other parties involve who are equally to be blamed; that there are historical viewpoints and political agenda to consider. And then what? What will Muslims do?

For the third time I will be asking this question in the hope of getting a proper response from you:

«Other than the fact that there seem to be no substantial steps taken by the moderate Muslim to address these issues, You missed out one question that i asked: Why don’t i see the millions of moderate Muslims condemning or making noise about the evil acts of the «few» radical Muslims? Is it fear or tolerance? The reason why i asked this is because — in the news you see Muslims in the UK and US rally on streets for equal rights and opportunity and other petty issues. However, i have never seen them publicly denounce the terrorist acts of the radical Muslims. Is fear to be branded heretic or traitor to Islam? or Is it indifference? »
__________________________________________________________________________________________

I must confess I do not know the answer to that question. May be some of you will be willing to share you thoughts on that topic ….

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Июль 15, 2007 Posted by | Akuna - English, Общество | 64 комментария