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Religion of Peace

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The massacre in Paris last week brought out all sorts of comments and commentary. Some of the comments reminded me of this oft-repeated phrase. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”

Let me focus on the statement by former Governor Howard Dean. He said: “I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else’s life, that’s not what the Koran says. Europe has an enormous radical problem. I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult.”

His first comment reminded me of the lead article in the Christian Research Journal that asked if the Islamic State is Islamic. When you ask the question that way, I think we all know the answer. This is like asking the question, Is the Pope Catholic? Obviously Islamic terrorists are Muslim.

Actually it is his second comment that informs the first. He is convinced that the Qur’an does NOT call for jihad or any violence against others. I would encourage him (and anyone else who believes that) to merely read the verses of Surah 9 in the Qur’an.

Surah 9:5, for example, is known as the verse of the sword and says: “fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleager them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.” Surah 9:123 says: “Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you; and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.” Other passages in the Qur’an say that fighting in jihad is good for a Muslim and fighting is a religious duty.

Jihadists believe that these and other verses apply to them today and justify their terrorist actions based on these verses. Moderate Muslims may ignore these verses or contextualize them. But it just isn’t true that the Qur’an doesn’t teach jihad. Sadly these terrorists who are Muslim use such verses to justify their horrific actions.

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