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Reply to Sohail

Reader comment on item: [Pew Poll on] How Muslims Think
in response to reader comment: Reply To: Aman Jihad verses

Submitted by KJB (United States), Jul 11, 2006 at 13:33

"I don't [see] why some Christians attack the Muslim faith by using these war verses because you only need to look at they [sic.] corrupted bible to see that it is even more violent than Islam. If war verses in the Bible were tooking [sic.] serious [sic.] by Christians and Jews they would this be [sic.] loads of wars like the Crusades in the middle Ages." -Sohail

True enough, there are passages in the Bible that command war. But biblical interpreters have been sophisticated enough, in virtually all places and times, to realize that not all commands in the Bible are to be taken personally. You employ a similarly sophisticated hermeneutic in reading the Qur'an, noting that there is an original historical context for the commands for war, and thus such commands cannot simply be transposed into our world today.

What I find instructive, though, is how so few Muslims share your hermeneutical principles; nor have they been shared by the majority of Muslims throughout Islamic history, as far as I have found. And when I have spoken to Muslims in Islamic bookstores, on university campuses, or online, I have failed to meet one who reads the Qur'an as you do -- and I have conversed with many Muslims. My suspicion is that your hermeneutic is informed by a western education, directly or indirectly. A failure to affirm legitimate warfare with the West simply is seen as at least a compromise, if not virtual apostasy, by many Muslims.

As one reads of the history of Islam, one find that the commands for war in the Qur'an have been used time and again to justify aggressive conquests of Jewish and Christian lands. When I've heard the justification for this, I'm told that it is because the Jews and Christians had initiated the war. But this simply is not historically correct in most instances (just as the first crusade arose in response to Muslim aggressions). Rather, I found that the Muslim worldview insists that the world originally was Muslim and that all who fail to confess Allah and Muhammad stand in opposition to, and at war with, Islam.

Thus, when Islam comes knocking, one either has to convert, or otherwise acquiesce in virtual slavery, or else one becomes a legitimate target for destruction. In other words, if one fails to bow the knee, then one comes to be at war with Islam.

Regards, KJB


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