“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!

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