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Response to Archimedes2

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:
in response to reader comment: You must have a different Qur'an than me, Safraz

Submitted by Safraz (United States), Dec 11, 2006 at 22:13

Archimedes 2,

I appreciate your posts but I think you are misinformed about Islam. I appreciate that you are trying to learn more by reading websites and engaging in these debates. However as Islam is so diverse - Sunnis, Shia's, Suffis, Wahabbi Sunnis etc. I can understand your confusion and the temptation to say - oh well all Muslims are bad - because it is too hard to understand the diversity of this belief.

For instance - the Prophet Muhammed was a general, a warrior - much like the Prophet Moses before him. Thus his life cannot be compared to the life of the Prophet Jesus, a carpenter and ordinary citizen, and who's life and philosophy we Muslims also draw inspiration from. Of course Muhammed led a much more bloody life than Jesus due to his profession, a general and leader of his community. But he also followed in Jesus' footsteps and teachings, and on his victory in Mecca for instance ordered his men not to harm the city or its population because the one God, as Jesus the Christ taught, is all merciful. This was an amazing notion in its historical context. Simply compare it to the pillage that would have usually taken place in those days as a means of rewarding the soliders for the victory.

Exodus tells us that Moses was ordered to kill, and did slaughter, 3000 pagans as punishment for their worship of idols. If Osama bin Laden were a believer in the Old Testament, there is no doubt he would use this as inspiration for his terrorism. That is my point - religion is interpretation.

The jiyza - the tax paid by the dhimmi - a word that means "protected peoples" - was not simply a protection tax. It was the tax the Jews and Christians paid to live in a Muslim ruled land. Muslims paid an equal tax called the zakat . Muslims were required to serve in the army - the Jews and Christians were not. What you must understand is that this is the middle ages. Being a Muslim in a Muslim country then, was like being a an American citizen in America today. Thus non-citizens, were required to pay taxes, much like non-citizens in America are today. So you must look at this in its historical context, and not as if this existed today in the modern world.

If such a thing existed today, of course it would be repulsive, and where similar things exist in the Muslim world today - I condemn it - and I believe most Muslims do as well. I find countries like Saudi Arabia repressive and medieval.

And I do not believe "No Compulsion in Religion" was abrogated - that's nonsense. Again, religion is interpretation. I am in the mainstream of Islam in my beliefs. Take a look at the letter the 36 most respected Islamic scholars in the world sent to the Pope. That is mainstream Islam.

Wahhabbi teachings are a perversion of the faith and will die in the battle of ideas. And that is why Pipes is right - the battle of ideas can only be won if we encourage the moderate ideas - Moderate Islam.


PS. Let me know if there are any issues unaddressed, as your posts were quite long and I didn't get a sense as to what were the more important issues to you. I'd also be more than happy to discuss offline.


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