Is Islam A Religion of Terrorism?

The highly controversial topic of Islam and if it is a religion of terrorism has succeeded in making many people feel confused, angry or just plain terrified. Could the religion that has been active since the beginning of the year 610, be a religion of terrorism, anger, cruelty, murder and manipulation?

Islam is one of the three biggest religions of the world. It has 22% of the world’s population as its followers, which is 1.6 billion people. This means that 21% of the 7.2 billion people in the whole world are Muslims. All Muslims are terrorists, except the 94%, that aren’t.

Various terrorist organizations call themselves ‘Islamic’, organizations like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Boko Haram. This terrorism is not Islam any more than the Ku Klux Klan is Christianity. No concessions can be made to either mindset, which have more in common with each other than they do with the religions they claim to represent.

Islam teaches respect for Christianity. Muslims believe in the Old Testament and the same God Christians do, the main difference is that Muslims believe that Jesus was a Prophet of God but not the Son of God. It also respects Judaism, Muslims support in the basic beliefs in the Torah and the Qur’an. Muslims also accept all the Prophets in Judaism, the main difference between them is that Jews do not believe in the Prophets after the Jewish prophets, including Mohammed and his teachings, who is the Islamic Prophet.

The terrorist organizations mentioned above, force others to convert to Islam, or they kill the unbeliever. In Islamic teachings, a Muslim is not allowed to force anyone into converting. Instead, a Muslim must be respectful of other religions. By extension, an Islamic government is not allowed to compel anyone to be a Muslim. Furthermore, Islam prohibits terrorism, it prohibits a Muslim from attacking innocent civilians as it goes against every principle in Islam. If a Muslim engages in terrorism, he is not following Islam, he may be wrongly using the name of Islam for political or financial gain. Muslims throughout their history never allowed the killing of civilians, even in the midst of wars such as the Crusades.

The Prophet Muhammad -peace be upon him- said, ‘Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people….’ The Prophet also said that there are people who kill in the name of Islam and go to hell. And when he was asked why, he said, ‘Because they weren’t fighting truly for the sake of God.’

A rising organization called Muslims Against Terrorism requests media not use phrases such as “Islamic Fundamentalists” or “Muslim Terrorists” regarding terrorist attacks “Because such things do not exist. Islam is the religion of peace, love and mutual respect. Islam is the religion of moderation. Islam is the religion of human value and dignity.

Terrorists associated with the September 11th disaster could be called “Al-Qaeda terrorists” since their involvement has been proven according to US, British, and Pakistani officials. When the Ku Klux Klan claimed credit for terrorist attacks in the 1960’s, they were not identified by religion as “Christian Fundamentalists” or “Christian Terrorists.” Although they identified themselves as a Christian movement, media never labeled them as Christians because their terrorism was regarded as a basic violation of Christian principles. People owe the same respect to the Muslim religion.

Many would argue however, that Islam is indeed a religion of terrorism. Their reasons would be directed to the Qur’an and the many references to war in it. They say, “Quite frankly, Mohammed damages his own image when he marries multiple women, advocates lying and spreads his religion by the sword.”

Nevertheless, is Islam a religion of peace? Many advocates will say it is. But the anti-Islamists would say that the Qur’an tells Muslims to go to war and fight for Islam, that the Qur’an tells them to fight for Allah, to kill those against Islam, and that Allah loves those who fight for him. “What are we to conclude if a Muslim is to take the Qur’an seriously? Is he not obligated to slay non-Muslims, to go to war, to kill those against Islam, etc.? Isn’t this what the verses are teaching? Yes, they are. And this is the source of Islamic Terrorism.” In Islam, there is no guarantee of salvation except in one instance, dying in Jihad. Jihad is the struggle — the battle against those who would oppose Islam and what Islam stands for. This is very important, because in the Muslim religion, there is no guarantee of salvation. Please consider the following verses:

Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy, will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light, — Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. (Surah 101:6–9)

Haroon Ullah, an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, for Prager University said,” Let’s ask ourselves this question: What drives someone to being a religious extremist, even to the point of becoming a suicide bomber? Like most people, I assumed that there were two overriding answers: poverty and ignorance. The poverty line goes like this: grinding poverty from which there appears to be no escape fosters seething resentment to those who have more. If your choice is to die a martyr or die a beggar, martyrdom is the clear winner. The ignorance line goes like this: the poor have no chance of getting a decent education and thus are susceptible to easy manipulation. Clever people play on their prejudices and superstitions. Once the extremist gets this ignorant, poor person in his grasp, indoctrination is easy. Since there’s plenty of poverty and plenty of ignorance around the world, that’s a lot of people to draw from. This is how the source of terrorism is explained.”

In places like Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., poverty had little to do with who became an extremist; lack of education even less. Many of those who subscribe to religious extremism, and are prepared to murder and die for their cause — are from the middle class; and many had a university education. These are not poor people, and these are not uneducated people. They are well-fed, and well-read.

He concluded his speech by saying,” So if poverty and ignorance doesn’t drive people to extremism, what does? One is a desire for meaning and for order. Places like those mentioned above are submerged in chaos and corruption. Islamists promise clear cut solutions to every problem: “Here’s how things will change if you follow these rules, and only these rules.” Another is a desire for change. The old corrupt order, the narrative goes, must be overthrown and that can only happen through violent action. Again, it is Islamists, that step in with a promise to create a new form of government. “

But as a Muslim, as a representative of Islam, a believer in Islam, a follower of Islam and its Prophet, I would like to apologize for the 9/11 Twin Towers attack, that was planned and done by nineteen members of Al-Qaeda. I apologize for the role of my religion, of me, and my people, for the killing of Theo van Gogh on 7/7, yes, that was all of us, that was Islam, the Muslims, that was the Quran, and that was the Prophet Mohammed. If you would like to generalize and stereotype even more, you could just go ahead and call me a terrorist myself, while you’re at it.

During an Oxford debate between anti-Islamists and Mehdi Hasan, he said, “now, let’s say Faisal Shahzad, the Time Square bomber was motivated by Islam, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Richard Reed, the shoe bomber was motivated by Islam, if Islam is responsible for these killers, if Islam is what is motivating these people, and Islam is therefore not a religion of peace but a religion of war, then ask yourself this question. Why aren’t the rest of us doing it?” He’s right, why is it such a tiny minority of Muslims are interpreting their religion in the way the opposition of this debate would be? The public claim that it is the majority acting upon words that were written over 2000 years ago.

I urge you all not to fuel the arguments of the Islamophobes, don’t legitimize their divisions, don’t legitimize their hate, trust those Muslims who you know, who you’ve met, who you hear, who don’t believe in violence, who do want you to hear the peaceful message of the Qur’an as they believe it to be taught to the majority of Muslims. The Islam of peace, compassion and mercy, the Islam of the Qur’an, not of Al-Qaeda, or ISIS, or Al-Taliban. The Islam I believe in, the Islam my family believes in, the Islam, that 1.5 billion people believe in.

Take a look at the question of this topic again: Is Islam a religion of terrorism? Now decide what you think the answer to that question is, and what it should be.