Thursday, December 08, 2005

Back to that ...

I'm back to that idea that not all muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are muslims. So, without further ado, I give you this:

. Over 100 Koranic verses exhort believers to wage jihad against unbelievers. “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly” (Koran 47:4). This is emphasized repeatedly. Jews and Christians are among those to be fought: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29).

There is no doubt that Muhammad meant such verses literally. Nonetheless, the fact that warfare against unbelievers is not a twisting of Islam, but the Islamic mainstream, and is repeatedly affirmed in the Koran, Hadith, example of Muhammad, and rulings of every school of Islamic jurisprudence, still does not make every Muslim a terrorist.

Why? Because the Koran is in difficult, classical Arabic, and must be read and recited during Muslim prayers in that language only. A surprisingly large number of Muslims have scant acquaintance with what it actually says. This is common to a degree that may surprise non-Muslims.

So is the Koran the Mein Kampf of the totalitarian, supremacist movement of Islamic jihad? If we take seriously the words of the book itself and how they are used by jihadists, then it clearly is their inspiration. Are we to ignore the jihadists' many clear statements on this because they offend contemporary sensibilities? The challenge for peaceful Muslims today is to confront, not to deny, this obvious fact, and to formulate strategies for a large-scale rejection of literalism in the Islamic community in America and worldwide, so that Muslims can coexist peacefully as equals with non-Muslims without the continuing recrudescence of this supremacist impulse.

Can it be done? The odds against it are prohibitive. But we do not do genuine Muslim reformers any favor whatsoever by denying that there is any work they need do with the Koran and Islamic tradition, or by pretending that the source of the problem is other than what it is.

What are we to make of this? While there are many moderate muslims who wish to live peaceful lives, to argue that they are not living the life of a true/pure muslim can be made.

H/t: SondraK