There’s one thing that’s been on my mind a lot in the past few months, and now it’s come close enough for me to try to put together some thoughts about the matter. One of my exchange student friends from Singapore, now doing a master’s in Sweden, was meters away from a suicide bomber on a busy street in the middle of Stockholm. (Article in Daily Mail)
I can’t help but wonder what these idiots think they’re achieving; what kind of a hogwash brainwash has been done to make them believe that violence – killing innocent people – is ever going to solve anything? The only thing this kind of attacks – especially in a relatively neutral country* like Sweden – is ever going to achieve is fear, suspicion and hate towards the said minority and nationality and faith. People always fear that which is unknown to them; this just makes it worse. Fucking idiots.
I’m willing to bet most Swedes have no clue what’s happening over in Afghanistan or elsewhere in Middle East; if these would-be terrorists truly wanted to effect change to the positive, they would try to raise awareness of the situation at least prior to resorting to violence. On the contrary; violence should be the last resort. I think violence is really only used when people run out of intelligent arguments.
Honestly, I’m running out of synonyms for idiocy, so I might have to go and punch someone.
Muslims argue that Islam is a religion of peace, and regularly quote the Qu’ran to prove it. But as it can be seen with Christianity, religious texts can often be read in whichever way it suits the reader. I haven’t read Islamic texts, and right now I don’t feel like immersing myself, so I can only offer guesses and interpretation based on my limited knowledge of the inner workings of the religion – but trust me, I will look into this later on. With a magnifying glass. So, if I’m saying anything that’s incorrect or blatantly wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments.
Al-islami.com quotes the following (and more) from Islamic texts as proof of peacefulness:
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, and do not transgress; for Allah loveth not transgressors.” (Surah 2, Verse 190).
“The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (Surah 2, Verse 194).
“And if ye do punish them, punish them no worse than they punished you: but if ye show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for those who are patient.” (Surah 16, Verse 126).
I can definitely read these from the Islamic fundamentalist point of view as ”if they kill our civilians, we’re encouraged to do the same and bring the war to their country”. Below quotes, from the same source, however, do seem to advocate peace:
“Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!” (Surah 41, Verse 34).
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (Surah 4, Verse 135).
“God advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.” (Surah 16, Verse 90).
In this, the Qu’ran is pretty identical to the Bible – if you look for a justification for something, you can probably find it there. Al-islami.com offers the following information regarding warring:
”[…] Islam prohibits the targeting and killing of all civilians, especially women, children, the elderly, and religious clergy. Enemies, even at time of war, must be treated justly. Prisoners of war have basic human rights, as stated in the Shariah (Islamic Law), and must be provided and cared for and not humiliated in any way. […] In addition, the following were the instructions of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to Muslims who are forced to fight a war:
“Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people,” and he mentioned priests, nuns and rabbis. And he said, “Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees and do not poison the wells of your enemies.”
Of course, there are sites (and people) who wish to denounce all goodwill intented by Islam, but the most intriquing text I found in my quick search on the topic is from answering-islam.org (‘a christian-muslim dialogue’). Under the topic Understanding the sources of Islamic Terrorism, David Wood writes (you can read the full text here):
If someone were to ask me, “David, do you believe that Islam is a religion of peace?” my answer would not be “Yes” or “No.” Rather, my response would be, “First tell me what you mean when you say ‘Islam,’ for it is a term that is used in different ways.” If by “Islam” we mean the religion that is practiced by more than a billion people around the world, I could reasonably answer with a qualified “Yes,” because it is a religion of peace for many people (though not for all). But if by “Islam” we mean the religion taught by Muhammad, I would have to respond with a resounding “No.”
He goes on to relate some of the history of Muhammad’s life to illustrate his point, and argues that Islamic extremists are even strengthening islam’s position in the world.
”[…] according to many Muslims, Islam fights, but only in self-defense. So who’s right? The solution to the debate can be found in a historical examination of Islam. It is true that Muslims are only permitted to attack when threatened, but history shows what the early Muslims considered a threat. Anything other than complete submission to Islam was regarded as a threat to Islam, and so anything other than complete submission was met with extreme hostility. Even poetry and song lyrics, when used against Muhammad, were enough to warrant a sentence of death.”
And there you go. I return to my original argument that there’s no right or wrong to be found in religious texts, but people who cease using empathy and dialogue as their main weapons are mostly imbeciles. People often fail to see that wars are mostly fought over money and power, with a thin veil of religious justification… and that it’s very rarely the leaders of the movement do any actual fighting.
*Up till now, anyway.