A Call to Muslim Leaders in the West
In the light of the recent atrocity in New York, we at Bible Theology Ministries, UK, are calling on all Muslim leaders to give honest answers.
We promise to publish those answers on this site word for word, if they are given. on the Muslim Forum.
We recognise that Muslim and Christian beliefs are different, if not, at times, opposed to each other. We are not trying to impose our will on Muslims, nor do we wish to compromise on beliefs, just as Muslims do not wish to do so.
In the West, Muslims and Christians, and those with no belief at all, must live in social harmony, whether or not we accept each others beliefs. In Muslim dominated countries Christians are, generally, treated very badly. During the Gulf War, Christians were not allowed to openly display their faith, by wearing crosses, etc. In other Muslim countries there have been many cases of Christians being killed.
So, in the West, we do not wish for Islam to dominate us or to produce an atmosphere of fear or repression, whether by law or by other means. Nor do we wish Muslims to fear Christians. Rather, we must all respect each other as human beings, leaving each to his own beliefs. We also wish to be free to preach the Christian gospel without Muslim interference or demands for changes in the law. Similarly, Muslims have the freedom to preach their own message. This will always mean counter-arguments from other beliefs...but all this is part of living together in social harmony. Muslims should not silence Christians by legal means, and vice versa. Thus, there must be freedom of speech.
A representative of the UK's Muslim Council, on a recent news item, said that all Muslims in the UK condemned the New York atrocity. Then, he said that he understood why some Muslims became radical and resort to violence. He quoted the Palestinians, etc.
To this listener in the West, who knows of Muslim violence toward Christians in other countries, this is not very comforting. The representative did not give an outright condemnation at all, but used carefully chosen wording that left the Muslim response ambiguous.
We have heard and seen very touching scenes of individual Muslims crying and apologising to those in the West. They distanced themselves absolutely from those who committed such violence. This was much appreciated. We know that the majority of Muslims in the West are law-abiding and tolerant. But, it only took a handful of Muslims to wreak havoc, costing thousands of lives.
So, we must ask Muslim leaders the following questions: -
Next, the same Muslim representative claimed that Islam is a religion of
love. So, the next questions are highly relevant...
We respectfully invite all Muslim leaders, anywhere in the world, but especially in the West, to answer the above questions. If you cannot, then your motives and intentions will forever be suspect. We believe that most Muslims live in peace and have no intention of harming anyone. That is why the next part is vital to us in the West...
Our Reasonable Demand
This part is an important and reasonable demand...but will Muslim leaders
who claim to be reasonable, respond suitably? Or, are their words of comfort merely empty? The
call is this...
The above statements do not constitute racism or hatred, for Muslims can be people of any race whatever. The questions and comments are reasonable in the light of an atrocity that has killed thousands of people. Therefore, it is about time that Muslims told us their true intentions, as a matter of public record. We wish to live in harmony with those who are fellow human beings, even if we disagree with their religious beliefs.
We look forward to hearing from Muslim leaders on this issue and promise to print your replies in full. If no such replies are given, then we will have to conclude that Muslims do not mean what they say about freedom of speech, future violence, living in harmony, and the supposed teaching of love within Islam.
All responses to: email@example.com.
We are offering Muslims an unique opportunity.
There are plenty of ecumenical groups that actively join Muslim and non-Muslim religions in peace initiatives.
This ministry does not accept Islamic beliefs, but we respect Muslims as fellow human beings. Islam does not accept our beliefs. That is why this opportunity is unique. You can put right any wrong ideas we might have about the intent of Islam and its followers.
A ministry such as this one does not normally invite Muslim responses. But, the recent New York atrocity demands some answers.
We will not compromise our beliefs, nor will Muslims. But, all peoples must live together or degenerate in to disharmony and violence.
We have been encouraged by the expressions of horror by some Muslims at the tragedy. But, we have also been dismayed by the hard-line hatred shown by other Muslims.
When Islam was first started, it used the sword to create converts. (We will not discuss the same tactics used by Roman Catholics, etc., for now...this is about Islam. We also oppose any violence used to force others in to submission). In many Islamic countries today, violence is still used against Christians in particular. Is this part of true Islam, or not?
Some Muslim clerics and ordinary Muslims tell us that violence and killing are against Muslim belief. Yet, others, sometimes whole countries, insist that Muslim belief demands that they kill infidels/anyone who is not a Muslim)!
Who is right?
So, we are asking Muslims – especially Muslim leaders and clerics – to explain their position regarding use of violence and killing. The Koran is said to allow Muslims to kill infidels...so why do some Muslims reject that teaching, and why do some insist on it? Is the claim actually part of Islamic teaching, or is it a corruption of Islam? If it is a corruption, where does it come from? What place do jihads have in the lives of Muslims, especially in the West?
Forget what is happening in Palestine – just try to give reasonable answers to the above serious questions. Only when we know our common enemy can we live together in peace and without distrust, even though we cannot accept each other’s beliefs.
Please join this forum – it is for Muslims but Christians or other people may participate. Put your case and let us know the true position, to clear the air. When you place your comments on this forum they will be read by thousands of Christians, and others. The editor will make suitable comments about what each Muslim has said and might ask for clarification or further details. In this way Muslims will be able to state clearly what their beliefs are regarding violence...and why Christians today are suffering under Islamic repressive regimes.
There is no catch. Your comments will not be altered. We only ask that you do not use abusive language or comments that might incite hatred.
We want to live peaceably alongside Muslims. We want to have the freedom to preach our own Gospel. We wish to make it plain that Muslims are also free to preach their beliefs, too. Please help us to make this possible, by being honest and direct about this matter.
Response to Jay Bryant's email of 26th January 2003
Thank you for your considered response to my questions. I would like to make the following comments, numbering them according to the questions you answered… Remember that I am not trying to offend Muslims in my comments – I am only trying to get to the bottom of this whole issue.
1. It is true that all verses must be taken in their context and not singled-out. But, according to the historical data I have read, Mohammed tried to force everyone to become Muslims, probably bringing upon himself the attacks you mention. Secondly, it is extreme Muslims who take these verses out of context, not me. It is Muslims who claim that Mohammed ordered the deaths of all infidels, and so we had September 11th.
It would help if there was a genuine split in Islamic opinion – but it still stands that many whole countries are strictly Islamic, repressing their own peoples. It does not matter that maybe the leaders alone are strict… if the people allow it to go on, then they are just as guilty. If they cannot stop it, at least they can show the West that they do not agree with it. But they do not.
There are no reasons to attack the West, for Muslims are given total freedom to believe and worship as they wish, whereas in strict Muslim countries, Christians may not. Even so, there are extreme Muslims in the West who speak freely of their hatred…as recent events in the UK prove. They incite evil and killing against those they live amongst. But, few Muslims speak out against them.
From watching many reports about Palestine, I must disagree with your assessment of the cause of its violence, which is most barbaric. There is no excuse for any man to incite hatred and violence against another simply because of a bias, especially not teaching young children in state schools to hate the West and to kill Westerners, even if they are civilians!
2. You may not believe as the hard-liners do…so why, then, do you and other Muslims not condemn them outright? And, as you say, it is hard to say whether or not moderate Muslims will follow those who are violent. You say that to speak against them would cause a rift. A rift between whom? I am getting the message that violent Muslims are not truly Muslim…so why are they still allowed to be called ‘Muslim’?? If they are still allowed this name, then it shows, even from moderates, that they are accepted, as is their hatred!
If a so-called Christian group did what these terrorists are doing I would disown them immediately and say they were not Christian. But, Muslims are not doing this with violent Muslims…hence my very serious doubts about the intention of moderates. Even where I live, in a provincial city, the local mosque invited hard-liners to speak, inciting hatred and evil. This tells me that they accept the violence and might one day attack Westerners…perhaps they already provide support.
Why can you not disown terrorist Muslims? If you do not, then it proves to the West that other Muslims support them, even by silence. Why allow terrorists to retain the title ‘Muslim’??
3. You say that in private forums Muslims speak against the violence. My friend, this is not good enough…they must tell all of us, in public!
Yes, they must speak out if they think the country they are in is being immoral – but this does not give them the right to kill. I uphold the right of any man, of any religion, to physically protect himself and his family if he is being physically attacked… but Muslim terrorists are killing anyone they wish, even fellow Muslims, coming from their own countries to do it… countries that are not attacking them or Muslims!
Going to war with Iraq will indeed kill those who are not fighters…but that is up to the Iraqi government, which uses its own people as human shields; they could easily move them away from known targets. Attacks against Iraq are very specific. There might be some mistakes, but it is not the intention to kill ordinary citizens, so it is absurd to claim that this is an attack against Muslims. (Saddam only uses Islam to gain support from Muslims… he has no real belief). Iraq has in the past supported and trained terrorists who attack the West, so war is inevitable. This is a war against terrorists, not Islam. To say otherwise is to be illogical. In the UK we have fought against the IRA… not because they are Catholics, but simply because they are killers.
So, Bryant…the major problems have still not been addressed. Your answers, like all the others, seem to say that terrorist Muslims are not true Muslims – yet no Muslim is prepared to disown them or to remove the title of ‘Muslim’ from them. Moderates say they oppose violence, yet their mosques in the West are inviting terrorists and supporters to speak to them, inciting evil. This is why I am not comfortable with Muslim responses to my questions.
Note: Many terrorists are now coming to the UK under the guise of being Asylum Seekers. Most disappear into the country and live illegally. Some were recently caught. It is obvious that they are in contact with other Muslims. So, why are they not handed over by moderates? Moderates recently locked out their own leader in Finsbury Park…but only after police stormed the place and found terrorist evidence. Why did they not do so before? See what I mean??
I challenge all who say they are ‘true Muslims’ to answer me and to disown the terrorists. Until they do so, their intentions will always be suspect. This is a very simple demand, but who will answer it?
First I would like to say that I am a Muslim, but not a strict one as such, living in a western country.
I am not a Muslim leader nor a cleric but I would like to express my own views on a few issues that you have brought up in your website. Maybe you would consider putting it up in your website.
1. The Koran contains a specific mention of the killing of infidels or unbelievers. As this is your own holy book, does this mean that though Muslims are outwardly condemning the atrocity, they are inwardly rejoicing... just as we saw in the disgusting scenes of joy in Palestine? If you truly condemn the atrocity, though the Koran says it is okay - does this mean Muslims are in contempt of their own holy book, by not joining the violence? If not, how do you reconcile the two?
Indeed the qur'an does mention something about killing of infidels or unbelievers. A Christian colleague of mine asked me this too, and it really bothered me because I do not believe that this can be true, if it were than I could be following the wrong religion. So I looked into the holy qur'an again and re-read the verses that were under scrutiny. One thing I noticed is that non-Muslims MUST UNDERSTAND that you simply cannot take a single verse and then make conclusions from it, you have to understand more about the structure of the verses in the qur'an and about the nature of these verses (why they were sent down etc). Indeed, before you judge about anything you should at least know the subject being judge well enough.
Verses usually come in groups, and usually tells a tale, moral story or response to an issue that were bothering Muslims at the time it was revealed to > Muhammad. Therefore there is a contextual base for the groups of verses which must be understood as well. If you take these verses part by part, you can make it to mean almost anything and claim that the qur'an promotes violence.
In the instance of "killing infidels", if you read the whole collection of verses related to the one inflammatory verse and try to understand the context in which these verses were descended upon Muhammad, you will see (just as I did, upon re-reading) that at the time Muhammad and his few followers were being harassed, prosecuted and under siege (attacking and killing) under the pagans and other population of Arabia (including the Christian and Jewish population that dislike him spreading his teaching). These non-Muslims would not back down and would gladly finish off Muhamamd and his followers, so they had no choice but to defend themselves by retaliating and killing off their besiegers. But this was in self defense, "kill or be killed" as they say. Given the situation of war and danger any normal human being would have to take on this stance. So the complete collection of verses were telling a tale about how Muhammad was besieged and cornered and how Allah told them to resist and fight back to survive. However, there are no reasons to extend the meaning to "you should siege all non-Muslims for all times", none at all. That would be because of utter bigotry. Only if the Muslims were harassed and forbidden to practice their religion and prosecuted in a certain country may they be forced to take such extreme measures. But this is not happening in most western countries so there is no reason for Muslims to uphold a rebellion in those countries.
I can't tell you everything, but if you are interested please read the qur'an but also try to understand all aspects of it before passing (premature) judgment.
As for Palestinians this is not simply a matter of religion, their fervent hatred of the US is because they hold the US responsible for the sad situation in which they are in and the US' unrelenting biasedness towards Israel. Remember there were probably also many Muslims working in the WTC killed on that day.
Your second question:
2. If some Muslims become so violent, does this mean all others have the potential to follow the same pattern?
No, I do not believe in what some fanatic hard-line Muslims believe. Indeed, some do believe that non-Muslims must be subdued and Islam dominate in this world. Yet, if this is true this would contradict the fact that Islam should be "rahmatan lil alamin", i.e. it should bring harmony to the earth and all its inhabitants. If all non-Muslims tremble in fear of Islam, have minimal rights and are treated inhumanly, how can "rahmatan lil alamin" be realized? This would be a contradiction. The problem is some bigoted Muslims refuse to use their heads and logic; if you resort to rationality then these bigots respond by saying that you are worshipping your intellectuality/mind, and hence committing "shirk".
No, I believe not all Muslims will follow. Yet it is hard to be sure about it. We should realize that in every religion, be it Islam, Judaism or Christianity, the ultra-orthodox/hard liner group is a part of the community and hence cannot be silenced, some of the other followers may disagree vehemently with them but they cannot be disowned and can be very influential.
Going up against them could cause a rift and may end up with the criticizers being ostracized by the other members of the community.
Your third question:
3. Why do some Muslims who live in the West and accept its freedom of speech, openly support the horrors of violence, and yet are not spoken against by tolerant Muslims? Do you think Muslims have the right to speak violence against Western countries when they are guests or citizens?
Believe me in private forums many Muslims do speak against violence and those who support it. No, Muslim should not incite hatred against a country in which they are guests, because this would amount to a sort of betrayal, which is considered a despicable act disliked immensely by Allah. However, they should not remain silent if they are being threatened or support the country in which they reside if the country is promoting something which is morally questionable, like going to war with Irag and killing many innocent people in the process. In this case, it is probably in the interest of the Muslim and his family to leave the country.
Barry Napier's response to Stuart Bateman's email of 12th June 2002
2. Yes, Jesus was sent to the children of Israel. A short time later, Paul was appointed by Christ Himself to be the ‘Apostle to the gentiles’. Paul preached the same message of the Gospel, which was then extended to all people. Apart from this, the Gospel Jesus brought to the Jews was also for gentiles. This reflects the Old Testament way of allowing non-Jews to become attached to the Jewish race if they believed. This is spoken of in the New Testament, where we are told that the gentiles are ‘grafted-in’ to the root of Judaism to become as one with all who are God’s people. So, in other words, the message of Jesus was not confined to the Jews, as you suppose. There is plenty of evidence for this in the Bible. For example, Jesus told His listeners that He had come for all those who were chosen by God…all who are predestinated to life…and ‘all’ includes both Jew and gentile, as other texts prove. We can say, then, that the Islamic view is deficient and falls far short of what scripture actually says…that the rest of the world are saved through Jesus Christ, who initially preached to the Jews.
3. Needless to say, we do not believe that Mohammed was sent by God, so
he has no place in God’s revelation to men. What fascinates me is that there are many within
Islam who would have me killed for saying that, and this does not exactly allow me to trust
Islamic followers with my life!
4. You say that there is a world of difference between Christians and
Christianity. That is perfectly true. It is also true to say that there is a difference between
Muslims and Islam. But, I notice that you might be British, possibly a convert to Islam? Have
you lived in an Islamic country? Are you aware of the many killings of Christians done in the
name of Islam? And what of the countless examples of Christians in Islamic countries being
refused permission to hold church services or to speak of their faith openly? What of Islamic
laws that prevent former Muslims from espousing Christian faith, even to the point of killing
6. You say that we must base our judgement on the Koran. That’s the point
– when we read it, it contains the seeds and the actual words that show us violence in Islam! I
wrote and asked Islam’s finest, most famed theologians to explain all this, but they chose not
to answer. It still stands that, in its early days, Islam spread swiftly by the sword and death.
Those who did not submit were butchered. This is historical fact. You might say that just as the
Catholic crusades were not Christian (which they were not, for the RCC is a cult), so violence
is not part of early Islamic teaching. But, these things occurred under the direct orders of
Mohammed, or those he taught!
7. You have quoted the Koran, re it is okay to kill another human being if he is a murderer or is spreading mischief. What is the definition of ‘mischief’? What about preaching Christ and the Christian message? For that is how strict states define it! That is, thousands of Islamic scholars are party to these definitions, and they support violence and subterfuge. It is my belief that if Islamic laws were brought in right now to the UK, we would see a great shift in attitude and actions from UK Muslims. Why? Because they would fear the consequences. And if you live in a country that predominantly preaches hate or dislike, you will imbibe it, especially if your teachers are famed Islamic scholars…the same ones who have thus far refused to comment!
8. As you will note from the earliest comments, I wished the Palestinian question to be separated from the current forum. This is because the matter of Islamic violence is not really based in Palestinian problems. In Christian eyes, violence is the result of sin, not of any particular country or politics. I see the violence within Islam as the product of sin…but the Koran contains the seed of that violence.
9. In your point 3 you say that all who kill in the name of Islam are outside the fold of Islam. At the beginning I called on all who believe that to publicly denounce the killers and their regimes, and to say that they were excommunicated from Islam. But no-one did that! Without that, we have every reason to think that both the peaceful and the violent are within Islam.
10. You mention the Old Testament references to death for unbelievers.
This is important and it applied. Today, we have removed the laws that put killers to death, but
that does not make it right, nor does it mean that Christians wish it that way. Sadly, the more
down the road we go of humanism the worse things get, as Christian laws are overturned. As a
Christian I can do nothing to get Christian laws returned. So, yes, we must keep the
commandments. But your interpretation of the text is faulty. The text you refer to is rhetorical
and faith in Christ is the path to heaven, not the keeping of all the commandments. (This is a
very brief one-line statement, of course).
11. You say that the text in the Koran that speaks of killing was for a time of war…but today Muslims are saying that we ARE in a time of war…war against the West and against those who refuse to accept Mohammed and Allah!! Yes, it is a matter of interpretation…but both parties claim to have the correct one. Who do we believe?? Throughout the centuries Muslims have lived at peace amongst Christians and vice versa. But that does not really give us a clue…were the peaceful ones really bad Muslims, and are today’s violent men ‘good’ Muslims? No-one has answered that adequately! And whilst there is doubt there is anxiety. Until those who claim to be peaceful and true Muslims denounce openly those who are violent, no argument will suffice. I am more than willing to accept that the Koran is peaceful, if Muslim leaders denounce the killers and what they stand for, excommunicating all who follow these extreme beliefs. But, this will not be done.
12. Your reference to Camp X-Ray in Cuba…I find this rather disturbing. The prisoners came from a country that was a hot-bed of hatred and terrorism. Those who were caught had the chance to lay down their arms, but they chose to keep on fighting, against the call of their own people who were becoming new leaders. Muslim terrorists are notoriously brutal. To give them an easy life in a camp would have been stupid. Yes, maybe some took this too far, but it is understandable. Note that whatever is done there, it is far superior to what happens to people in strict Muslim countries! Don’t be sucked in to Islamic propaganda! The object of the camp is to separate violent men whose aim is to kill those in the West. Naturally, the captors do not wish to give them an opportunity to do that…and it is to their credit that they did not kill the terrorists in the first place. Please, see that camp against the bigger picture of terrorism and the horror of September 11th. I do not understand or accept murder or brutality, but I do understand reactions to it.
13. Your interpretation of Jesus’ words re judgement and crime etc, is also faulty. In another place He speaks of the sword of the magistrate and that we ought to fear it…so you must interpret scripture in context. This does not detract from living in peace, bearing in mind that the actual teaching is to live in peace as far as we are able.
14. No, you have not hurt me or offended me. As a Christian teacher I receive many comments! I have no problem with a Muslim putting his case. My problem is with those who utter violence against anyone who does not accept Allah and Mohammed. There must be equal courtesy, even if we cannot accept each other’s beliefs.
15. I agree that we must all live together – which was in my original statement. But, for too many years many Christians have been too afraid to speak out, because of the threat of violence against them, or even legal constraints (the mock Islamic parliament in the UK is pushing for legal restraints against Christians and any who speak against Mohammed). Today, it is ‘politically correct’ to give many concessions to Muslims at the expense of Christian belief and practice. Even our schools are dropping Christmas events for fear of offending Muslims!! We must be able to speak as we believe (with courtesy), and not as we are bound by convention or fear of offence.
16. I appreciate your response, Stuart, but there is no way I can accept the Islamic position, because I see it as a cult and not of God. Only Christ – being God - is the way to God and to heaven. Likewise, Islam sees my own position as untenable. That’s no problem, so long as we have the freedom to preach what we believe is the truth. Islam may do the same.
But, thus far, no argument has shown me what I am looking for – a definite and clear condemnation of Islamic thugs who kill to get their own way. They must be excommunicated and called ‘infidels’. Until that clear call is made, my original statements will stand.
Thanks for your participation.
Barry Napier, BTM 30th June 2002
Hello, this is in response to your request on your web site regarding the Islamic stand point on the September 11th attacks and other questions and comments that you made.
Firstly I would really like to thank you for giving us Muslims the opportunity to reply to your questions / comments. Many people will just abuse Muslims in ignorance and leave no platform for dialogue.
I would also like to greet you using the same words as Jesus (peace be upon him), which is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke Chapter number 24 verse number 36 where Jesus (peace be upon him) says in Hebrew Ashalaamo Alikum, which in English means ‘peace be with you’.
I will firstly comment on your brief introduction on your “Muslim Forum” page before I answer your questions.
Initially you mentioned, “Islam and Christianity are different if not at times opposite beliefs…” You also said, “We are not trying to impose our will on Muslims, nor do we wish to compromise on beliefs, just as Muslims do not wish to do so”.
And I agree with your second statement wholeheartedly, as the Holy Qur’an says in Surah Al-Baqarah chapter number 2 verse number 256, “That there is no compulsion in religion, verily truth stands out clear from error.”
I would like to make one point clear that Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus (peace be upon him). No Muslim is a Muslim if s/he does not believe Jesus (peace be upon him), in Adam (peace be upon him) in Noah, in Moses, in Abraham in Solomon (peace be upon them all). If any Muslim rejects faith in any of these messengers he ceases to be a Muslim.
But what we believe is that these messengers were on(ly) sent for a particular group of people at a particular time period. And their complete message was not meant for the whole of humanity.
For example if you read the Glorious Qur’an, it says in Surah al Imran chapter number 3 verse number 49. “That we appointed Jesus (peace be upon him) as a messenger to the children of Israel”
According to the Holy Qur’an Jesus (peace be upon him) was only sent as a messenger to the children of Israel.
And if you read the Bible a similar message is given. In the New Testament in the Gospel of Matthew chapter number 10 verses 5-6, Jesus (peace be upon him) tells his 12 disciples “That go ye not into the way of the Gentiles.” (Who are the Gentiles? The non-Jews (the Hindus, the Muslims etc.). “Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, into the house of the Samaritans you shall enter not but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
And Jesus (peace be upon him) further says in the New testament in the Gospel of Matthew chapter number 15 verse number 24 “That I have not been sent but as a messenger to the lost sheep of the Children of Israel”
That means both the Qur’an and the Bible say that Jesus (peace be upon him) was only sent for the children of Israel.
But Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was not only sent for the Muslims or for the Arabs as the Holy Qur’an says in Surah al Ahsab chapter 33 verse number 40 that “Prophet Muhammed is not the father of any of you men but is a messenger of God almighty and is the seal of the Prophets and God is all knowing and full of Knowledge”.
So we believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) was born miraculously without any male intervention, we believe that he raised the dead with God’s permission, we believe that he healed the blind with God’s permission, but he is not God neither did he claim to be. Jesus (peace be upon him) says in the Gospel of John chapter number 5 verse number 30 “I can of my own self do nothing”, and also in the Gospel of Matthew that “All power in the Heaven and the Earth is given unto me.”
The main concept of God in Islam is that there is only One God, and this message can be found in both the Old and New Testament. If you read it’s mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy chapter number 6 verse number 4, it’s a Hebrew quotation that says “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad” which means "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one God".
So according to Moses (peace be upon him) the concept of God was
“The Lord our God is one God”
And you can find even more stringent verses regarding the Oneness of God, for example if you read in the book of Exodus chapter number 20 verse 3 – 5 and the book of Deuteronomy chapter number 5 verse 7 – 9 it says:
“Thou shalt have none other gods before me, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth: "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."
And also the concept of God according to Jesus (peace be upon him) in the New Testament was verbatim of what was said by Moses (peace be upon him).
For example, if you read in the New Testament in the Gospel of Mark Chapter number 12 verse 29, one of the scribes comes and asks Jesus (peace be upon him) “That what is the first commandment?” He replied verbatim what Prophet Moses said “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad.” Which means “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one God."
You also mentioned that Christians are often treated badly in Muslim countries, I would just like to point out that there is a world of difference between Christians and Christianity and a world of difference between Muslims and Islam.
I would like to give you a quick example: Suppose Mercedes Benz manufactures a car, and they get a layman who cannot drive to test the car. If he crashes the car will you say the car is bad? No, you will blame the driver. In the same way, if you want to know the true Islam you should judge Islam only according to the Qur’an and how Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) practised this religion / way of life. (I won’t speak about the Christian Serbs in Bosnia and the atrocities they committed against the Muslims like rape, murder etc.. as we all know this has no basis in the Bible.)
Regarding the killing of innocent people such as Christians in Muslim-dominated countries, one verse of the Qur’an is enough to refute the killing of innocent people which is from Surah Al Mida chapter number 5 verse number 32 which says, “If anybody kills another human being unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief throughout the land, It is as if he has killed the Whole Of Humanity” So the guidance we get in the Holy Qur’an is if you kill one innocent person it is as if you have killed the whole of Humanity, (That’s how bad this is in Islam).
Responses to your Questions:
1. As I mentioned the quotation from the verse above, It is Haram (Forbidden) for anyone to kill innocent people, and if you do the sin, it is equivalent to that of killing the whole of humanity. These actions are as much a part of Islam as the IRA’s murder of innocent are a part of Christianity/Catholicism. As mentioned before, judge Islam according to the Qur’an and not the actions of people.
2. I do not believe that the situation in Palestine caused the September 11 th attacks, there is also much speculation about who actually carried out these attacks, but I wont go into that now.
3. No Muslim should support the killing of innocent people; anyone who does kill innocent people is outside the fold of Islam if he is rejecting verses from the Holy Qur’an i.e. if he kills and believes the verse forbidding his actions doesn’t apply.
You also mentioned that if Islam is a religion of love, how come the Qur’an contains verses mentioning the killing of non-Believers?
It is very easy for people to quote verses out of context without understanding them. For example, the Bible says in the book of Leviticus chapter number 24 verse 16 “That anyone who blasphemes the name of the lord shall certainly be put to DEATH, and ALL the congregation shall certainly STONE HIM, even the stranger and native when he blasphemes the Name of thou Lord he shall be put to death”.
Now I’m sure there is a great explanation why these verses are mentioned, however, so Christians might try to explain by saying that this is the Old Testament and we don’t really give importance to these verses. What you must realise is Jesus (peace be upon him) said in the Gospel of Matthew chapter number 5 verse 17 – 21:
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”
So according to Jesus (peace be upon him) you MUST keep all of the commandments if you want to enter paradise. He said that he has come to fulfil the prophets and the Law, not to abolish it. Therefore, it is necessary for Christians to keep all of the commandments if they want salvation according to Jesus (peace be upon him). (Another reference at Matthew 19: 16-18).
E.g.: Not to have pork [Leviticus: 11: 5-7], Not to have alcohol [Proverbs 20:1], Not to do idol worship [Leviticus 26:1 Leviticus 19:4], that you should put your forehead on the ground when praying (as Muslims do) [Numbers 16:4, Joshua 5:14, Matthew 26:39, Luke 5:12,] etc…
The verse of the Qur’an, which speaks about killing unbelievers, is from surah al Tauba Chapter number 9 verse number 5 – 6. You must realise that this verse was sent down at the time of war, as well as other verses, which give the conditions of war e.g. Not to kill women or Children and the elderly, not to cut down trees, not to attack places of worship etc…
So it is not correct for people to pull verse out of the Qur’an and say: “The Qur’an says where ever you see an unbeliever kill him”.
We know that when the United Kingdom was at war with Germany, the leaders of the British army would have instructed their soldiers that when in the state of war wherever you find the enemy you should kill them.
But that doesn’t mean that any British soldier can kill a German citizen today because there was an instruction too many years ago. In the same way this should not be done with the Qur’an. And when people quote this verse out of context they never quote the verse, which comes after that. Which is Surah Al Tauba chapter number 9 verse 6, which says, “If one amongst the enemy asks for asylum grant it to him and escort him to a place of safety”. I would like to know which army general would tell his soldiers that escort the enemy to a place of safety and give him asylum if he asks? (We all know about the American form of asylum clearly visible at camp X-ray Cuba).
For Muslims living in western counties our main job is to deliver / convey the message of Islam, and correct any misconceptions - as I am trying to do now.
Also, many people say that Christianity is a religion of peace as Jesus (peace be upon him) taught the message of peace and love whist Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) allowed his followers to fight in the cause of religion.
If you know it’s mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew chapter number 5 verse 38, Jesus said “It has been said of the old time an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” it was the law at the time of Moses. Moses (peace be upon him) brought the law of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. They had no time for justice and courts of law etc… If someone takes your eye, you can take his eye back, which was the law at that time. But when Jesus (peace be upon him) came as another spiritual teacher, because people took the law literally, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” - he brought a remedy. It’s mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew chapter number 5 verse 38 “It has been said of the old times an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say unto you that whom so ever slaps you on one cheek offer him the order, who so ever ask you to him your coat give him your cloak, whom so ever ask you to work one mile walk 2 miles etc.” So when Jesus (peace be upon him) came he brought a remedy and went to the other extreme.
But when Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), he brought the middle path that first you should analysis the situation first and then give the judgement. Today the society has become very bad, there is so much crime etc… if you follow the law of Jesus (peace be upon him) today, that if a person slaps you on one cheek offer him the other, if a person asks for your coat give him your cloak it will be difficult for you to live, as today’s society is very bad.
For example, if you see a man is robbing someone or is harassing a woman, our beloved Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said “If you see an evil stop it with your hands, if you can’t stop it with your hands, stop it with your month (tell him don’t do it) and if you can’t stop it with you month at least hate it in your heart and that’s the lowest level of Faith.
So Islam is a religion of middle path, our religion teaches us that if someone wants to fight you, don’t get scared fight them back, if you don’t fight them back they will harasses the poor people of this world. If God has given you strength to fight back, if someone is creating injustice its compulsory that you fight the injustice, it’s a requirement. So today the best law is to fight that injustice so that peace will prevail.
So depending on the situation the law of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) is that you analysis the situation and then give the judgement.
I would like to that you again for giving me this opportunity to clarify the Islam stand point towards the attacks of September 11 th and your other questions and comments.
Please forgive me if I have said anything to offend you, my intention was not to hurt anyone’s feelings but just to show you our stand point.
Ultimately Muslims, Christians and Jews should all focus on those things
they have in common and are beneficial for humanity as a whole, rather than obsessing with
differences, which will lead to discord and animosity.
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