Ms Raccoon has had her nose in this book all week-end. As with the bible, one can play pick n’ mix’ to one’s heart content. I hadn’t quite appreciated why it was so easy to come up with competing quotes to suit your (usually Twitter!) purposes. Take this:
‘There shall be no compulsion in the religion’. Qur’an 2:256
The very essence of ‘peaceful Islam’? Indeed, but read on:
I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.’ Qur’an 8:12
Like the bible, the Qur’an has two parts. Basically what Allah told Muhammad when he was meditating in a cave in Mecca, and what Allah told him after he had fled to Medina with his followers.
Mecca was a polymath city whose main source of income was storing the various idols that people came to worship – Mecca, his birthplace tolerated many different ‘religions’. What they didn’t tolerate, after quietly coexisting with this ‘new’ version of Allah, as preached by Muhammad, was Muhammad joining forces with the city of Medina to force them all to follow Muhammad.
After Muhammad fled to Medina 13 years later, his rhetoric changed somewhat. Where he had believed:
Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion. Qur’an 109:1-6
Now he wanted to:
… kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. Qur’an 2:191-193
It all depends on whereabouts you delve into the text, and whether you believe (as apparently ISIS do) that the later texts abrogate the earlier ones. Apparently some Muslims excuse the later verses by saying that they were penned during a time of much conflict and war – but either the Qur’an is an authoritative book of law or it isn’t. If it is merely a historic account of Muhammad’s changing state of mind as he travelled the country then we can discount the ‘peaceful’ verses as being representative of true Islam, and put them down to Muhammad being in a better frame of mind towards his fellow citizens.
To say that there is ‘no religious excuse‘ for the tragedy that is Paris today is nonsense – there is a religious excuse, right there – Qur’an 2:191-193. It is not ‘pure evil’ – it is human beings living by their version of the demands of a Holy Book.
To describe ISIS as following a ‘medieval religion’ and demand that adherents are backward and should join the modern world in making Islam a religion of peace is to ignore that the ‘religion of peace’ was the earliest version. What you are asking is that ISIS revert to an even more medieval version that only lasted for 13 years until Muhammad went to Medina.
If what the commentators who say that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ really mean is that most Muslims ignore Muhammad’s later teachings, that is to dispute that the Qur’an is the word of Allah – and unless Allah has specified that you can ignore what he has said – then you can’t. Simple as that.
What is needed is an authoritative figure – the King of Saudi Arabia? – to declare once and for all which bits of the Qur’an are to be followed, and which bits ignored.
Then we will know whether we are at war – and Mohammed Emwazi was a casualty of war – or whether we just brought in capital punishment (so long as you are abroad) by the back door.
Right now we have Sky TV, with its extensive business model not wanting to upset its Muslim client base, telling us what a charming child Emwazi was (invariably described as ‘Jihadi John’, making him sound like a slightly roguish second hand car dealer) and interviewing his hand wringing supporters, then reverting to interviews with François Hollande telling us that he will be ‘merciless towards the barbarians’ that have overnight butchered 132+ of his fellow countrymen.
Demanding elation amongst we compliant citizens, that American technology has managed to blast one disaffected British citizen into small pieces who was unwise enough to use his mobile phone to tell the missus he was on his way home for dinner, is a puny response to a confused populace that is repeatedly told it is illegal to feel anything but love in their hearts towards those who hold the Quar’an as a lifestyle manual. We need a declaration regarding which bits of the Quar’an, and how we are allowed to feel towards those who regard the later texts as authoritative.
Am I the only person confused? (Please don’t tell me that you can pick ‘n’ mix the Bible, I am well aware of that and we are not currently carrying out mass executions based on it).
A plague on all the Holy Books.