“For me, Islam is a religion of peace,” Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala says in an NBC News story about the 21 Christians recently beheaded by ISIS in Egypt.
Meanwhile, the White House inches closer to declaring war on ISIS.
But there’s a problem no one seems to want to talk about: ISIS is only doing what the Qur’an tells them to do.
You have a holy book that tells a poor, oppressed people if they kill non-Muslims and die trying, they will get a free pass to heaven along with an eternity of food and a promise of 72 virgins to have sex with.
What choice do they really have?
So Malala and moderate Muslims everywhere, including dear friends of mine, can continue to say “Islam is a religion of peace.” But here’s the problem: the Qur’an is not a book of peace. And you can try telling “radical Muslims” like ISIS to stop reading it the way they do, but they aren’t going to stop because they believe the Qur’an is God’s word and they are always going to hold God’s word over your word.
What happens when America declares war on ISIS? This would not be a war against a country or an army. Wars against countries and armies stop once that country realizes they can’t win–once they realize their forces are too depleted. The country then surrenders and the war is over and agreements are made. But the difference here is ISIS will never stop because they aren’t fighting for some political ideal, they are fighting for the Qur’an and they are fighting for their own individual salvations. And the Qur’an tells them the best thing that can happen to them is that they die fighting for Allah. And the killings won’t stop in Egypt, they’ll come to the United States and everywhere else non-Muslims are found. So to end this war, every member of ISIS must be exterminated. Because even if they’re down to two soldiers, you can bet those two soldiers will continue to be faithful to the Qur’an and continue to behead as many non-Muslims as they can find, just like the Qur’an tells them.
But even if you exterminate those final two members of ISIS, the Qur’an will still be around. With its commands to kill non-Muslims. And while the vast majority of moderate Muslims are great people, they make up around 1/4 of the earth’s population. And some of these people are still reading the entire Qur’an and still seeing it all as God’s word. And it’s only a matter of time before some of them start obeying the entire Qur’an again.
And then they’ll just create a new ISIS, or Taliban, or Al-Qaeda, or fill-in-the-blank group that is obeying the Qur’an’s commands to kill non-Muslims.
It’s a mess really. And I honestly don’t see any good solution to it. I know moderate Muslims’ solution is to continue to show the world and radical Muslims that what ISIS is doing isn’t of the Qur’an, and they can easily convince the world of this. The world loves thinking all religions are the same and the world could really care less what is actually in the Qur’an, they will believe anything the news tells them. The world puts more weight on what Malala and moderate Muslims scholars think of the Qur’an than they do what Muhammad thought of the Qur’an. But radical Muslims don’t and never will. They will never interpret texts as allegorical or contextual the way moderate Muslims tell them to. The reason they will never do this is because the Qur’an never says to do this. And they believe the Qur’an, not Malala or NBC News.
And no, the Bible doesn’t say these same things and to equate the two as the same is simply lazy reading. (And no, I’m not lazily reading the Qur’an. I would argue that most who say “Islam is a religion of peace” are the ones lazily reading the Qur’an–and the ones saying this who are diligently studying it are creating ways of changing it)
My wish and prayer is that moderate Muslims would see that the Qur’an is not God’s word and that they’d stop trying to defend it as such. Their defense is impossible, as they only contradict themselves by blatantly disagreeing with it while also saying they agree with it. The Qur’an is not God’s word, it is Muhammad’s word. He piggybacked off an existing religion of love (Christianity), copied the Bible’s commands about love and peace, then added a bunch of world domination and sensual gratification for men to it. In studying their arguments, I’m convinced that moderate Muslims already have way more in common with Jesus than Muhammad.
I realize this is not an easy pill for a moderate Muslim to swallow, and that leaving Islam would mean excommunication, imprisonment, and even death to many (which is a genius plan of Muhammad’s to keep a religion of political domination intact), but the alternative solution of trying to convince your radical brethren that your holy book is something that it isn’t is not working and will continue to not work.
The book says what it says and it doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.
This is the root of the problem.
Some people will be highly offended by this post. But it seems like everything else is being talked about except for the honesty of the Qur’an itself. In my opinion, honesty always helps the conversation. I don’t have a solution to all of this, it’s truly a mess, but let’s at least be honest about the mess.
Host of the The Flip Side Podcast
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