In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
For months and months, I have been getting email after email from people (mostly anonymously) sending me links to stories about how some Muslim somewhere among the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world has done something wrong as “proof” of the evil of Islam.
Indeed, these Muslims will threaten ex-Muslims with death; they will kill, and murder, and maim; they will call people to hate non-Muslims; they will do all sorts of terrible things. I accept that. I do not like it, but I know these people, most unfortunately, exist. What I do not accept, however, is the notion that these people, somehow, prove the “evil” of Islam itself.
This is not true, correct, or accurate.
Yes, there are terrorists who murder in the name of Islam. They even videotape their acts of vile murder and publicize it. They go into the Qur’an and pull out verses out of context in order to justify their murder as “holy.” They will preach for the murder of those who leave the fold of Islam. They will claim that the mission of all Muslims is violent conversion of non-Muslims. They will preach that the world is divided into two camps: the so-called “abode of peace” (i.e., where Muslims are) and the “abode of war” (i.e., where non-Muslims are). Yes, they will do all of those things.
I accept that. I do not like it, but I know that, unfortunately, this is a reality today.
But they do these very things because they come out of a criminal mindset. Only a criminal mind can read the Qur’an and conclude that he (or she) must kill all non-Muslims or those Muslims who choose to leave the faith. Only a criminal mind will use sacred text to justify blowing himself up in a pizza parlor (or cafe, or hotel, or marketplace, or mosque) and kill innocent fellow human beings. Only a criminal mind can justify hijacking civilian passenger planes and using them as missiles to murder thousands of innocent human beings.
Because that is what these militants and terrorists are: they are wretched, vile criminals. They must be stopped from committing more crimes. Their plots must be exposed and foiled before they come to fruition. Their financing must be disrupted, and their organizations must be infiltrated. And as important – and this is what I have been trying to do for more than five years now – their religious arguments and philosophies must be countered and rejected.
Sometimes, I look at these people who murder in the name of Islam and exclaim to myself: “Do we read the same book?” When I read the Qur’an, when I read the very same verses that they themselves quote, I do not come away with that which they come away. I do not conclude that it is OK to murder innocent people. I do not believe that Jews and Christians are my enemy. I do not believe that those who choose to leave Islam must be executed. I do not believe that the world is divided into two “abodes” that are at endless war. I do not believe that I should hate all non-Muslims. And the inspiration for these beliefs come from the very same Qur’an.
So, whenever I read of a Muslim somewhere who commits an act of violence and says, “Islam told me to do so,” I reject his contention as the rantings of a criminal with a criminal mind. And it is not fair, correct, accurate, or appropriate to project the actions of the criminals of a community upon that entire community.