We need a word. I’ve been struggling to describe the awfulness of when a belief which is pure of spirit and ennobling to the world is claimed as motivation by evildoers.
If it pains me to hear “Islamic terrorist,” how much worse must it feel to a good-hearted Muslim? Well, I can quote the long version, from Omid Safi, weekly columnist of Onbeing.org, as he discusses 9 responses to the attacks in France:
8) Muhammad’s honor.
The shooters are reported to have shouted that they were doing this to revenge the honor of the Prophet. Let me put objectivity and pretense towards scholarly distance aside. The Prophet is my life. In my heart, Muhammad’s very being is the embodied light of God in this world, and my hope for intercession in the next. And for those who think they are here to avenge the honor of the Prophet, all I can say is that he is beyond the need for revenge. Your actions do not reach him, neither did the profoundly offensive cartoons of Charlie Hebdo. That pornographic, violent, humiliated and humiliated figure depicted in Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons is not and was not ever my prophet. As for the real Muhammad, neither the cartoonists nor the shooters ever knew him. You can’t touch him. You never knew Muhammad like we know Muhammad.
And as for the shooters, they have done more to demean people’s impression of the religion of the Prophet than the cartoonists in Charlie Hebdo ever did. If the shooters wanted to do something to bring honor to the Prophet, they could begin by actually embodying the manners and ethics of the Prophet. They could start by studying his life and teachings, where they would see that Muhammad actually responded to those who had persecuted him through forgiveness and mercy.
Those shooters were, in my eyes, “dyslamic.” Just like those “Christians” who harrass gays at military funerals, or who fought in the Crusades, are “Dystians.” It’s a stretch, I know. But I don’t want to cede the name of a real, peaceful faith to people who use it to justify evil.
Now I’m wondering what you think of my word.
(Thanks to Iris Graville for sending me the link to “9 Points to Ponder”)
I so agree. Religion has no role the actions of any extremist, whether s/he is Muslim, Christian, Jewish, etc. They USE religion to bolster their actions and draw people into their camp. They are psychopaths, murderers, rapists exclusive of their religion, not because of it, and their religion certainly doesn’t support it. I hate that religion has been tied to extremism. It has led people who don’t understand faith/religion/spirituality, what have you, to lash out at anyone who identifies themselves as such. It’s disheartening.
“Disheartening” is indeed the word. It means we have to take active steps–like that march in France, or just reaching out to each other, or singing, or praying–to “re-hearten” ourselves.
Gretchen, I’m curious if you’ve ever studied the teachings of Islam or read the Koran. The prophet does indeed teach forgiveness and mercy–TOWARD THOSE WHO HAVE CONVERTED TO THE ISLAMIC RELIGION. The teachings put forward toward infidels (anyone outside the faith) are altogether different. Muhammed made it very clear that Islam was to spread through forced conversion at the edge of a sword. Any who refuse Allah are to be put to death. It is repeated again and again throughout the Koran. So the Muslim who would treat non-Muslims peacefully is actually going against Muhammed’s instruction. The terrorists killing non-Muslims are the ones following the teachings put forth in the Koran.
The teachings of Jesus, on the other hand, call for sacrificial love. That isn’t to disregard teachings on morality. But those offenders who call themselves Christian and act violently or unbecomingly, be they Crusadors, Inquisitioners, or anyone else, are actually going against the teaching of Jesus.
That is the most basic, bottom-floor teaching of each, and they are worlds apart.
I confess I am not well-versed in the basics of the Koran. But I prefer to trust the interpretations of well-versed Koranic scholars over those Biblical scholars, who, it seems to me, have another agenda.
You forget Koranic scholars have an agenda…to hide the violent nature of Islam’s teachings from a Western culture that desperately wants peace. It’s much easier to conqueror the blind. I didn’t make it up. I read their book.
There always seems to be more trouble when ancient writings are brought literally to the modern world. The world is very different from that of Jesus or Mohammed, today…’at the edge of a sword’, or isolating women as ‘unclean’ because she’s menstruating, or many, many other precepts of religion taken whole from ancient texts ignore that generations have passed. The world is full of more diversity than was known then.
Too often, religion is used to manipulate or control those who are broken, lost, hurt, searching, angry, or otherwise vulnerable. Rational, socially conscious people seem to be able to understand that these precepts of religion are brought forward from another time, and keep what holds value while discarding that which doesn’t apply to our world.
Most Muslims coexist peacefully with others, perhaps realizing that no one else wants to be forcibly converted, any more than they do.
I like your words. They seem to fit on a deep level.
Thanks, SJ. I think we do better when we strive to look at how faiths are lived for the better, rather than isolating words or phrases for the worse.