Terrorists abroad and Islamophobes at home are busy abusing Islam while building on each other’s hate. Both groups claim that God commands Muslims to kill non-Muslims wherever they find them.
The fact, however, is that a Muslim will be punished in this world under the law for killing someone. S/he will also be banished to Hellfire by God in the afterlife unless s/he repents, reinstates his or her faith, and lives a life of good deeds (Quran 25:68-70).
Many of our neighbors are confused by the persistent propaganda by Islamophobes that it is not terrorists but “Islam itself” that is the problem.
They quote the Quran out of context to achieve this goal. In reality, Islamophobes represent a $200 million dollar-plus hate industry, which promotes such bigoted misrepresentations and smears against Islam and Muslims. Islamophobes are also given multiple platforms and mediums to state this nonsense, as well as countless online venues.
The result is that hate, anger, and fear are rising in our nation. Gun purchases, hate groups, and the number of armed militias are at an all-time high. President Barack Obama received 400% more death threats than former President George W. Bush did, according to the Secret Service. This is partially because he is assumed to be a secret Muslim born in Kenya.
The Missing context of the accusations
Prophet Muhammad was a very peaceful man. He never hurt anyone, much less killed anyone. He lived simply, consuming less and sharing more, despite being married to one of the richest person in Mecca. God’s Peace & Blessings be upon him.
Pre-Islamic Arabia was caught up in a vicious cycle of war and revenge. Prophet Muhammad launched a non-violent peace movement in the early 7th century A.D., to end precisely the cycle of war, revenge, and terrorism we see today.
His vision was to bring humanity together with belief in One God and one humanity. He required a belief in all of the Prophets of God and revealed Scriptures. He wanted people to be forgiving and merciful to each other and all creatures on earth.
Through a peaceful coalition of tribes he achieved victory by an ingenious campaign of non-violence. When he died in 632, he had brought peace to war-torn Arabia.
He wanted to achieve all of that just by preaching, which he did for 13 years in Mecca. However, he and his followers were abused and tortured. He himself survived several assassination attempts. His surviving followers narrowly escaped extermination at the hands of the powerful tribal lords of Mecca.
The Prophet’s response to this oppression was to find peace elsewhere. Upon his encouragement, a majority of Muslims migrated to a Christian land where a just king ruled across the Red Sea in Africa.
He himself found refuge and protection in a town almost 300 miles away. He declared that town a peace sanctuary where no one, not even a bird, can be hunted and no tree can be cut. It was a multi-tribal and multi-religious society.
For his peace sanctuary in the city of Madinah, the Prophet developed constitutional treaties with Muslims, Jews and other tribes of the town, declaring them together as “one people” with full freedom of religion, justice, and equality.
Although Prophet Muhammad and his followers fled oppression in Mecca, they were not left to live peacefully in their peace sanctuary called Madinah. The Meccans, came attacking the nascent community.
The Right to self-defense in Islam
Due to the Prophet’s teachings of peace, Muslims did not want to fight back. This is where God chastises Muslims for their reluctance, for not defending their peace sanctuary, and commanded them to fight back. (Quran 2:216 & 4:75)
Discussing this verse out of context is like saying that the Bible calls for genocide. (1 Samuel 15:2-3)
Muslims did eventually abide by God’s command to defend their peace sanctuary. However, the total number of days involved in these defensive “wars” were six days. And the total number who died on both sides is less than 1,000.
Muslims were being physically attacked, tortured, harassed, and killed wherever they went. This is why God ordered them to engage in self-defense, saying, “Slay the enemies wherever you find them!” (Quran 4:89). Extremists like ISIS and Islamophobes selectively quote such verses without including God’s encouragement to peace, which almost always accompanies verses related to defensive fighting. Take the verse which immediately follows (Quran 4:89): “Thus, if they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, God does not allow you to harm them.” (Quran 4:90)
As Karen Armstrong has noted about the Quran:
...the only permissible war is one of self-defense. Muslims may not begin hostilities (2:190). Warfare is always evil, but sometimes you have to fight in order to avoid the kind of persecution that Mecca inflicted on the Muslims (2:191; 2:217). The Koran quotes the Torah, the Jewish scriptures, which permits people to retaliate eye for eye, tooth for tooth, but like the Gospels, the Koran suggests that it is meritorious to forgo revenge in a spirit of charity (5:45). Hostilities must be brought to an end as quickly as possible and must cease the minute the enemy sues for peace (2:192-3).
This is the story of Jihad, a noble concept of Islam: to strive for a purposeful life toward higher ideals of peace and justice.
Jihad has been twisted, misunderstood, and misused at the hands of the thugs called ISIS and bigots called Islamophobes.
After the Prophet’s death, many Muslims unfortunately abandoned his peace movement. They adopted the ways of the world, fighting for land and power. They built empires like everyone else. Many commandments of God were violated.
However, the excesses of those empires pale in comparison with the horror inflicted by modern nation-states, which gave us World War I, II and the Holocaust. The death toll in the millions, the widespread destruction of infrastructure, and the attacks on civilians continue to this day, not for religious ends, but for secular, economic, and political ones.
Why ISIS & the terrorists?
Given this context, we must ask: Why do “Islamic extremists” engage in suicide bombings and the massacre of innocent civilians? Far from being endorsed by the Islamic faith, these crimes are categorically forbidden. Although Muslims have no Pope, almost all scholars of Islam have repeatedly condemned these crimes, which violate Islam’s teachings. The number one victim of this mayhem are actually Muslims themselves. To understand this cycle of war and terrorism, one needs to read the Pentagon-funded research of Dr. Robert Pape, whose empirical study of terrorism and suicide bombing concludes that this phenomenon is motivated by politics and not religion.
May God guide those who create mischief in the world.
May God guide Islamophobes so that they become better neighbors and better citizens.
May God guide our leaders so that they use our tax money to save lives not take lives. May God protect us and our neighbors.
Here are our requests for you
- Make sure you call your local TV when they give a free pass to Islamophobes, instead of exposing their bigotry.
- Support the fight against hate by joining OneAmericaCoalition.net
- Share this brochure with your neighbors, friends and family.
- Work with Muslims so their voices are louder than ISIS
- Donate for Sound Vision’s campaign against ISIS
Being Muslim, Haroon Siddiqui
Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time, Karen Armstrong
Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, John L. Esposito
Misquoting Muhammad, The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy, By Jonathan A.C. Brown
Islam and the Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane
The Vision of Islam, Sachiko Murata & William C. Chittick
The Holy Qur’an, translations by Yusuf Ali or Thomas Cleary
Imam Malik Mujahid’s Articles:
Web Based Resources:
How Real is the Terrorist Threat in the US
You Are 7 Times As Likely To Be Killed By A Right-Wing Extremist Than By Muslim Terrorists
Though terrorism perpetrated by Muslims receives a disproportionate amount of attention from politicians and reporters, the reality is that right-wing extremists pose a much greater threat to people in the United States than terrorists connected to ISIS or similar organizations. As UNC Professor Charles Kurzman and Duke Professor David Schanzer explained last June in the New York Times, Islam-inspired terror attacks “accounted for 50 fatalities over the past 13 and a half years.” Meanwhile, “right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities.”
Please download and share a thorough scholarly response to this menace.
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