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Aren't Islamists true Muslims according to the Koran?

Reader comment on item: [President Bush and] Naming the Enemy

Submitted by William Karkow (United States), Aug 29, 2004 at 20:10

Dear Mr. Pipes,
If an unbiased reader were to study the Koran, what conclusions would he draw regarding his duties to his god? As a sample, the following passages are quoted;

Surah 2:191 "Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors. Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is more grievous than bloodshed. But do not fight them within the precincts of the Holy Mosque unless they attack you there; if they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded: but if they mend their ways, know that God is forgiving and merciful. Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme."

Surah 5:16 "Unbelievers are those who declare: ‘God is the Messiah, the son of Mary.' Say: ‘Who could prevent God, if He so willed, from destroying the Messiah, the son of Mary, his mother, and all the people of the earth?'"

Surah 47:5 "When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take ransom from them, until War shall lay down her burdens. Thus shall you do. Had God willed, He could Himself have punished them; but He has ordained it thus that He might test you, the one by the other. As for those who are slain in the cause of God, He will not allow their works to perish. He will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the paradise He has made known to them. Believers, if you help God, God will help you and make you strong."

At least 2 pages of similar verses can be collected from the Koran. Is it reasonable to maintain that Islamists are some sort of extreme lunatic fringe? Rather, is it not reasonable to conclude after reading the Koran that Islamists are trying to be true to the Koran to the best of their ability? In the marketplace of ideas, it seems best to study the founding documents before assigning one or another group as most true to their cause. It would seem to this reader that all who are interested in the relationship between Islam and terrorism should read the Koran for themselves and judge. Who exactly is the true Muslim? Has the public noticed how little discussion is held publicly over the meaning of specific verses contained in the Koran, as opposed to summary glosses with little specific content or explaining ability?

Respectfully yours,
One who has read the entire book and believes the Koran, not just Islamists, defines jihad as including the physical destruction of anyone who rejects Islam.
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

I agree that the Islamists are not a lunatic fringe but heirs to an important and ancient tradition of Islam - and even allude to this in the article you are commenting on.

DP

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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