Scriptural sanctions for violence in Islam


Irshad Manji, a Canadian Muslim and well—known author living under threat of a fatwa calling for her death, writes today in the Los Angeles Times about the same problem addressed by Dr. N.S. Rajaram on AT today: the Quranic roots of terror.

I don't understand how moderate Muslim leaders can reject, flat—out, the notion that religion may also play a part in these bombings. What makes them so sure that Islam is an innocent bystander?

What makes them sound so sure is literalism. That's the trouble with Islam today. We Muslims, including moderates living here in the West, are routinely raised to believe that the Koran is the final and therefore perfect manifesto of God's will, untouched and immutable.

This is a supremacy complex. It's dangerous because it inhibits moderates from asking hard questions about what happens when faith becomes dogma. To avoid the discomfort, we sanitize....

A high—profile gathering of 22 clerics and scholars at the London Cultural Center produced a statement, later echoed by a meeting of 500 Muslim leaders. It contained this line: "The Koran clearly declares that killing an innocent person [is] tantamount to killing all mankind." I wish. In fact, the full verse reads, "Whoever kills a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all humankind." Militant Muslims easily deploy the clause beginning with "except" to justify their rampages....

Why do we Muslims hang on to the mantra that the Koran — and Islam — are pristine? God may very well be perfect, but God transcends a book, a prophet and a belief system. That means we're free to question without fear that the Almighty will feel threatened by our reasoning, speculating or doubting.

Thomas Lifson   7 22 05