Greetings and peace to everybody!
I don't think my previous post, and what it entailed, is enough in explaining why the core and truth of Islam is one of peace.
Listing down violent-sounding verses in the Qur'an, and detailing why they're actually not, is all very well. However, how does that resolve the question of "Why are Muslims violent anyway?" Sure, they may not supposed to be - but they ARE. Ha! says the New "Expert" on Islam: Explain that!
Today I will attempt to post the summation of my theory on that topic. I'll try to keep it short and concise as possible, which may be difficult because I haven't actually put it in words before, but I'll do my best.
The difference between violent Muslims and moderate Muslims is the difference between a medieval state of mind and a modern practice of religion, the difference between the way nation-states were formed in the past and the way they are now.
To make a long story short: you know how Islamophobes like to say "Islam is a political movement"?
Well, if you've been living in the fifth century it was. ALL religions were political movements. If you were in a country, you followed the same religion as everyone else. You believed what everyone else believed - or you were supposed to. After all, if you didn't, the nation would fall into anarchy and strife and would eventually go kaput, right? Right - because in those times, it was true. (More about that later.)
Delving in further, another branch of that thinking is the one that goes: Everyone has to be the same! Everyone has to look the same, talk the same; basically, all those trappings of the Dark Ages that the we've been trying to cast behind us with diversity and globalization and all that, that's been going on for a while and is the great gift of the modern world.
We indoctrinate our kids with it (if I had a penny for every cartoon character that's reached the enlightening conclusion of "IT'S GREAT TO BE ME!"...) and it's getting quite tiresome, actually.
But the reason I bear the achingly sweet Disney songs is that in the end, however cheesy they are, they are true. We humans are more alike than we realize. With the celebration of diversity and globalization and all that, and the tinny notes of "It's a Small World After All", we reach the most precious thing of all...
That blessed idea that as humans, we're all together in the same boat, however different from each other we are; so we need to respect that. You may not necessarily like it - it doesn't have to appeal to you - but you need to put up with it because it's the right thing to do.
That, there, is Conclusion One. Modern world = (mostly) tolerance.
So what does this have to do with Muslims?
Well, to bring it along, there's a touchy topic in Islam. It's the issue of overzealous following of what medieval jurists who came centuries after the Prophet ordained.
That no more is open to interpretation: it's all been done already, you don't need to bother your head about it...
"Just sit down - there, right there! - take this book" (you struggle with the weight) "Now - don't think, just MEMORIZE!!! Shhh. No arguing. Memorization. Do you think you're better than all these learned scholars who wrote these books?! Huh? Do you?!
"I didn't think so. Now MEMORIZE."
I can say a lot more about this topic, but suffice it for the moment to say that that's why the medieval way of doing things - not the Islamic way, but the seventh-eighth century way - has stuck. People are so afraid of 'going against the Righteous Ancestors' that they won't put a toe out of the line that has been drawn by them.
This is Conclusion Two.
Keep in mind, and this is very important, I'm not dissing the Righteous Ancestors. I respect them for their tremendous awareness of God, their passion for their religion, the degree of which that we modern people can hardly hope to attain! I'm talking about the general medieval way of thinking. Which is what brings us to Conclusion Three...
Nation-states go to war with each other, right? Obviously. The difference between now and then is that nation-states were based UPON religion. This was the land of the believers, this was the land of the non-believers. If that nation-state invades you, it's the non-believers attacking you - not the people who are probably just want what you have and they don't.
That medieval mentality - the Righteous Ancestors' mentality, justified as theirs was and unjustified as it is now - has carried off into today. When the US invaded Iraq, it wasn't the US invading Iraq. It was THE NON-MUSLIMS BATTLING OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS! WE MUST GO AND FIGHT FOR OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS AGAINST THE NON-BELIEVERS!
I believe that may be a direct quote of Osama bin Laden; and just about every other terrorist there is out there. They ALL cite Iraq, or Afghanistan, or any of the countless Muslim countries the US has invaded as reasons to PICK UP YOUR WEAPONS AND GO FIGHT, YOU COWARDS! Not as "it's the US invading" - as a Christian country, as the NON-BELIEVERS invading.
So hostility is created towards Christians: a majority targeted for the actions of a minority. This is the issue: realistically, terrorists wouldn't have a game plan if the US hadn't invaded wherever they invaded.
I'm not justifying what they're doing. But, Americans: They don't 'hate you because they're free'. They 'hate' you because they see themselves as wronged, they want to get revenge, and they decide to use the verses in the Qur'an that a less learned person would accept their interpretation of without question, to justify their wanting to kill and kill and kill.
In the end, in Islam there really is no such thing as "Kill the infidel just 'cos he's an infidel". As illustrated in the previous post, there was always a reason: the oppressors, the ones who have fought against you, those who have broken the treaty...
That is why Islam is a religion of peace. And because this has gone on for so long, I'll leave it at that. (Short and concise? Dream on, Maryam...)
Finally, I just hope I got the message across.