Islam The Peaceful Religion

Islam is a peaceful religion we are told. Most of us accept that. However, that being true, there are some confusing facts.

Why is it that in Cairo’s largest mosque Friday prayer time is used to call for people to take up arms against America?

Why is it that in Pakistan during the anti-American riots protesters hold up signs with pictures of Osama Bin Laden and the words: “Hero of Islam?” Irony of irony these signs are not written in the language of Pakistan but English.

Why is it Imams threaten America in worship assemblies? Why are anti-American films depicting violence and glorify killing shown in Islamic schools in their homelands while here in America tolerance is encouraged?

Our president stopped using the term “crusade” and Billy Graham discontinued calling his meetings “crusades” out of respect for persons of the Moslem faith. Yet the religious leaders in Islamic nations call for a Jihad, a holy war against America.

Perhaps those who engage in these confusing acts have read only part of the Qur’an. Qur’an is Arabic for “recitation.” The injunction Mohammed said Gabriel gave him meant “make vocal what is already written.”

After Mohammed’s military victory at Medina he continued to fashion his revelations. The portion of the Qur’an “sent down” during his early writings were poetic and mystical. After the Medina conquest his works took on a more aggressive political and legal tone.

Mohammed learned about “the people of the Book” (Jews and Christians) in his youth. The post-Medina portion of the “recitations” became more warlike. It is these segments some have evidently come to rely upon almost exclusively. Moslems of good faith need to help others understand how they should properly interpret these passages. Recitations such as the following are hard for some People of the Book to whom they relate to understand:

“God fight them, what liars they are” (Surah 9:30).

“O believers take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends to each other.
Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. God guides not the people of the evil doers” (Surah 5:56).

There are radicals and extremist in every movement. They give all who rally around their banner a bad name. We must avoid stereotyping all Moslems as fanatical anti-Americans as well as Jew and Christian haters. They simply are not. Many friendships exists between people in these differing groups and there are many pro-US Moslem American citizens.

Moslems in America could do much to aid their image if they would be more outspoken in condemnation of violence. Such statements by their Imams would be meaningful. It would improve public opinion if they would voluntarily turn in their colleagues thought to have terrorist leanings. If political and religious leaders in their homelands would be as discrete in their expressions as President Bush and Billy Graham it would make for a better understanding and cool hot heads among their own.