“This Is Not Islam” — Why Do We Say That?

Politics, Religion, Self Reflection

After 9/11, I found myself saying that a lot — “This is not Islam.” Islam is a religion of peace, I insisted. We’re not supposed to kill people, or hurt others, or raise a “sword” against another human being unless it is in self defense.

I said this not only because I was taught this, but because I knew killing was wrong. We all know killing is wrong. We feel it in our hearts, through our blood, and deep down in our bones. We don’t like death. No one wants to die, to kill, or to hurt another human being (unless you’re a sociopath). We are born with a conscience.

Yet people are dying all over the place, all in the name of God, in the names of prophets, dying for their mosques, their temples, their shrines, or their whatever.

People are dying in Darfur, in Nigeria, in Iraq, Syria, Dagestan, Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Egypt, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the West Bank, America, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and so on and so forth. It would take me all day to list all the places people are dying and getting killed in the name of religion or the name of God (which ever name you choose).

Terrorist was a new word for me in 2001. I didn’t know there was such a thing. I knew there were bad people in the world, I knew people fought wars, I knew what death was. But until those towers came down, I had no idea what terrorism was. So when people talked about Muslims being the people behind the attacks, I couldn’t understand what was going on, or why we would do that.

I would occasionally hear people say that those radical Muslims were a small number, and that they were poor representations of the religion of peace. We’re a peaceful religion, we insisted. Before that day, I had never had to defend my beliefs. And for me, defending my beliefs meant trying to put together what happened with what I’d always been taught, and come to the conclusion that we didn’t do stuff like that.

It never occurred to me that this incident may not be as isolated as we were claiming.

And now here I am again, 13 years later, trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with Muslims. People I know telling me that ISIS is just following the Sunnah. People insisting that Hamas is a resistance movement, and that they are just trying to free the Palestinians.

So I listen for a while.

Then I start hearing things. Things that I want to deny and run away from.

ISIS has over 40,000 people stranded and starving on a mountain in Iraq? They’re killing Sunnis, Shi’a, Christians, Palestinians, Yazidis, and anyone who disagrees with them?

Hamas is using Palestinian children to build tunnels, killing over 160 kids? Their own kids that they claim they’re trying to free?

Boko Haram is kidnapping, raping, selling, and killing young women? Forcing them to convert to Islam and marry disgusting, old pedophiles? Killing them if they resist?

Muslims in France are burning down the places frequented by the Jews? Their stores, synagogues, etc.?

British Muslims are marching down the streets telling people to follow Sharia Law?

No matter how you spin it, Muslims are acting crazy.  And that list is only a fraction of what Muslims are doing around the world.

I realize there are moderate Muslims out there. Although I’m starting to doubt just how many are moderate. There seems to be a thirst for blood that is just insatiable among them. And those who are moderate and fairly sane are considered hypocrites. These terrorist organizations believe they are following the Qur’an and the Sunnah. And all Muslims who speak out against them… are hypocrites. What does this say about the true nature of Islam?

If you want to be a hypocrite in Islam, dare to question all the killing going on. If you’re a true Muslim, you must support all these radicals.

No matter what you do, you can’t win. Moderate Islam is useless if these “moderates” won’t say anything, won’t do anything. A religion is the sum of its people. If Muslims keep denying what Islam is, they will never change it for the better. You can’t make changes if you never acknowledge the problem.

If you, as a Muslim, want better representation — if you want to be represented as a peaceful people — then you need to stand up to the evils that are operating in the name of Allah.

Because right now, Islam is not a religion of peace. When I discuss Israel and Gaza with Muslims, they think I am cruel and heartless because I will not side with Hamas. They tell me that they know where my loyalties lie, and when I ask where that is, it’s “not with humanity.”

Moderates are irrelevant in this mess. All the “moderates” want to do is protest Gaza and deny that Islam has any part in anything else going on. You want to talk about genocide? Let’s talk about genocide. Where were your Darfur protests? Where are your protests against ISIS? Against Boko Haram? Why don’t you protest what Muslims are doing in France? In Britain? Why are you always crying over Gaza, but don’t care about what Muslims are doing to anyone else?

You think I don’t care about humanity? Since when is humanity defined as “Muslim people”? You see, I believe humanity includes everyone. Not just Arabs and Muslims. Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Mormons, and all the other religions I can’t think of off the top of my head. They’re human too.

I don’t believe that a Jewish life is any less valuable than a Palestinian life. And I will not side with the terrorists, even if they pray to the same God I do.

This is Islam, and it needs to change!


My Political Opinion Determines My Religious Beliefs

Politics, Religion

I had a conversation today with someone very dear to me. I wanted this person’s perspective on some political issues. Specifically, Hamas and the situation in Gaza.

I asked if she thought it was okay that 160 Palestinian children died digging tunnels for Hamas.

She knew nothing about this.

I asked her if she thought it was right that the leader of Hamas is in Qatar instead of fighting in Gaza.

She knew nothing about that.

I asked if she thought Hamas was a terrorist organization.

She said she had no idea what their agenda was, and so she couldn’t say yes or no. She did say that she thought the Israeli army were terrorists.

I quoted straight out of the Hamas charter that “Jihad is our methodology, and death is our most coveted desire.”

She told me that Jihad is in Islam, and that it’s not haram (forbidden).

You know, I was taught that “Jihad fi sabilillah” is to “struggle for the sake or cause of Allah.” I really wish Webster would have sent out a memo when they changed the meaning of “struggle” to suicide bombing and murder.

How can you wholeheartedly believe that one side are terrorists simply because you think you’re supposed to?

She then told me to look at the ratio of death on either side. Somehow that must mean that the Israelis are terrorists. Would it actually change anyone’s mind if more Israelis died? That is some baffling “evidence.”

During this conversation, my religious beliefs came into question. I personally don’t see that as being relevant, but she obviously did. So I addressed her concerns.

She informed me that a Muslim would NEVER justify anything Christians or Jews are doing against Muslims. She feared facing Allah on the Day of Judgement and explaining to him why she defended people who were killing Muslims.

Me? I fear facing Allah and not being able to explain to him why I blindly listened to what people told me without verifying it for myself. Islam warns against ignorance. If you can’t answer questions when asked, you’re ignorant. If you don’t bother to find out after you have admitted that you don’t know, you’re willfully ignorant.

I asked her why Muslims won’t speak out against Hamas.

She told me, “I’m not there. I don’t have secret spies in their little army.”

But she’s so quick to judge the IDF, not knowing a single thing about what’s going on. And according to her, it’s because she’s Muslim, and she’s never going to support a Jew. Duh.

“Only Allah truly knows what Hamas is up to and if they are truly doing anything bad, but that doesn’t mean that I can support the Jews that are trying to get rid of them.”

I gotta ask. What Jews are trying to get rid of Muslims? Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that there are a few Jews out there who wouldn’t mind. And there are in fact secular terrorist organizations in Israel. But collectively. When you talk about a large group of people wanting to kill someone…

Take a look at this. I typed “Do jews want to get rid of Muslims” in a Google search engine. Guess what I found:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit CFinally I explained to her that my questions concerning politics have nothing to do with my religious beliefs. This is an issue of politics, not religion. I was told that it is in fact about religion, and not to buy into “it’s politics” garbage.

Nothing I have said goes against God or Islam. I am questioning man’s actions. I am questioning the way in which people who call themselves Muslim are behaving. I have always been told that even if my parents told me to do something that I knew was wrong, I could disobey them. And now, I am questioning the actions of the Muslims around the world. Those who want to kills Jews and Christians, and those who kill each other. Because someone has to say something.

On the Day of Judgement, when God questions my actions and beliefs, I can tell him that I made decisions and came to conclusions based on my research using all the information I could get my hands on. I did not blindly do what people told me to, and I stood up and spoke out when I felt like people were doing wrong. Will you be able to say the same?