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Compulsion of non-believers

Reader comment on item: The Evil Isn't Islam

Submitted by Karl Ericson (United States), Jul 30, 2002 at 22:42

Daniel Pipes in his article "The Evil Isn't Islam" addressed an extremely important question. We need to understand where the evil that struck our nation on September 11th and that is taking a constant toll of innocent civilians in Israel, is coming from. Are we oppressors, have we done something terribly wrong to deserve the massacre of September 11th or is it simply because we are non-believers of Islam?

Daniel Pipes argues that Islam is not the source of the evil that struck America and defends his position with the Koran quote "There is no coercion in matters of faith."

This is the standard quote used by apologists for Islam. What they don't quote is the next couple of sentences which say "those who disbelieve, their guardians are Satans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide."

The sentence "There should be no compulsion in religion" is the most misunderstood sentence in the Koran. It is widely assumed to refer to compulsion of non-Moslems when in fact it refers to compulsion of Moslems. That the sentence is referring to Muslims becomes clear if one simply reads the rest of the sentence which is "...whoever disbelieves in the Satan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle...The sentence is referring to those who believe in Allah.

The chapter makes amply clear the fate of those who don't believe in Allah. In verse (2:88) of the same chapter it says "Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief". In verse (2.193) of the same chapter it says to fight them until their religion be only for Allah. The final verse of the chapter pleads with Allah to "Help us against the unbelieving people". This is hardly compatible with the statement that there is no compulsion of non-believers.
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