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Fear of Muslims

Muslim men praying in Yeni Cami

Muslim men praying in Yeni Cami

Copyright © Quanthem / Shutterstock.com

Or Islamaphobia.

They say that many Americans have a fear of Muslims. But fear is not really the correct term; I think suspicion or apprehension more aptly describes the general feeling toward them. And really, can you blame them? Groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS use Islam as their platform to perpetuate terrorist acts upon the world. And as is customary, people tend to judge entire groups of people based on the actions of a few. Additionally, some of the texts of Islam seem to send messages of misogyny and even violence.

Let's look at some examples. Here's where Islamic dogma teaches male superiority over women, most notably intellectually:

Bukhari (Book 52, Hadith 22) "The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind."

Quran (4:34) "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."

Here are some of the examples where violence and killing is promoted in Islamic literature:

Quran (2:191-193): “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]… but if desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”

Muslim (20:4645): He did that and said: 'There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth.' Abu said: 'What is that act?' He replied: 'Jihad in the Way of Allah! Jihad in Allah's Cause!'"

Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.

Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Religion of Peace?

These are just a handful of instances of the antiquated ideologies and provocative messages being delivered by Islam's holiest book. Now I'm no authority on the Quran and I'm sure many who are can weigh in on this, but on its surface it certainly doesn't sound like a religion of peace, tolerance, and understanding. But conversely, maybe these have been misinterpreted. Or maybe the passages are being taken out of context. Or perhaps the texts are merely symbolic of some other message being delivered. And guess what, the Bible has many instances of violence as well.

So while it's true that some people read the Islamic holy texts literally, the modern day Muslim may be much more enlightened. In the past, Muslims were primarily grouped into two camps: 1) Sacrifice Islam for sake of modernization, and 2) Sacrifice modernization for the sake of Islam. But the modern day Muslim is finding a balance between these. They are open to accepting modernization and even Western incursions on ideology, while also maintaining some of the fundamental messages of the Quran. They are also open to various different (and non-literal) interpretations of the holy books.

The lesson is the same as the ongoing theme of this site. Yes, every group, religion, race, etc. will have its unsavory and even wicked participants. But let's realize that not all Muslims are extremists who are driven by the destruction of the Western world. Just like not all Christians are Western crusaders who are driven by the destruction of Islam. The only thing more dangerous than such extremists are those who isolate a few instances of violence and a few lines of text, then judge an entire population on these bases.

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Big Ed is the Chief Editor for Bigatorial.
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