I don’t know about you, but I am growing weary of the “Islamic Terrorist” extravaganza. The scales tipped for me when I see media “rock stars” citing from the Koran; here’s why that bothers me? It adds to the depths of ignorance and enflames sentiments, when in fact we should be approaching the issue with an intellect. The conversations usually revolve around the concept of jihad, of which there are 164 references to jihad or war in the Koran. Forgetting for a moment that Islam was greatly influenced by the Bible and that the Koran was written and influenced by events of its time like the Gospel, I decided to do a little research just to see how many references to war exist in the Bible. I’ve listed them below, but there are more than those shown. My research was not exhaustive nor conducted as a theologian or scholar; it is therefore imperfect, but I believe illustrative.
Ecclesiastes 3:8 – A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Matthew 10:34 – Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Deuteronomy 20:1-18 – When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, [and] a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Romans 13:4 – For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Numbers 32:6 – And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?
Exodus 17:16 – For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn [that] the LORD [will have] war with Amalek from generation to generation.
Next, let’s take a look at the opening lyrics of the ubiquitous “Onward Christian Soldiers”
Onward Christian Soldiers (Lyrics)
· Onward, Christian soldiers!
· Marching as to war,
· With the cross of Jesus
· Going on before.
· Christ, the royal Master,
· Leads against the foe;
· Forward into battle,
· See his banners go!
Last but not least. Let’s look at a very small sample of Christian religious art.
Note the images of the Archangels. They are not holding a feather duster, they hold a sword. So, ladies and gentlemen what is the beef with the Koran?
Chiefly, there are two ways to interpret the Bible and the Koran. It can be symbolic or literal; a Christian fundamentalist takes the literal meaning of the Bible while a Muslim fundamentalist takes the literal interpretation of the Koran. Both groups have committed acts of violence against the so called “non-believers.” Case in point, look at the number of Christian sects we have today. These groups came into existence because of liturgical disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church. These Protestants were persecuted and executed for their differences. This is a fact and it came about from fundamentalism of religious belief. Muslims too went through their own period of persecution.
Today, the overwhelming majority of Christians and Muslims believe that references to war or jihad, and soldiers, are symbolic relating to fighting evil or sin. So, when you see and hear someone quoting from the Koran to make a point on the concept of Islamic terrorism, recognize that you are dealing with a healthy dose of ignorance or hypocrisy and the same can be said of Christian fundamentalists advocating for the destruction of any faith.
Lone wolves and radicalization have nothing to do with religion, the Koran or Bible. The lone wolf is more likely a disenfranchised individual looking to belong to something rather than a religious zealot These people are struggling to be a part of something and they’ll latch on to any cause they can connect with or any association that welcomes their participation with. In the hands of criminal enterprise like ISIS or ISIL, they become pawns to add credibility to their criminality adding recruitment and fundraising. All of the media hyperbole on Islamic terrorism adds credence to the misguided belief that the west is attempting to destroy Islam and contributes to the prestige of a bunch of thugs who have declared war on moderate Muslims. So, how does one deal with the lone wolf scenarios? I’m not sure that it can be effectively done. Lone wolves come in many shapes, sizes and colors and I think that it’s counterproductive to associate them with Islam. Just take a look at our own history, in the 60’s, and you’ll see an abundance of lone wolves and radicalization; SDS, SDS Derivatives, Black Panthers and its offshoots, etc., nothing to do with religion but certainly radicalized, and I can say without reservation that in those days there were infinitely more domestic bombings than under the banner of Islam.
Therefore, my point is to suggest that you take what you see in the news media with a grain of salt. However, it’s important that we redefine terrorism, that we engage the Muslim Community to redefine Islam for the 21st century, and above all Takfir organizations like ISIS and ISIL; because, I will guarantee you if the Prophet Muhammad were alive today, he’d be pissed!