Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 46: Islam on Aggression...Surprise!

I'll admit: you won't often find me curled up next to a fireplace reading the Qur'an. More likely you'd find me curled up next to a fireplace with a Snuggie on and a plate of dark chocolate, reading Pride and Prejudice for the billionth time.

But when a non-Muslim teacher friend of mine asked me today about access to online interpretations of the Qur'an for her World History class, I took a visit to that upper shelf of my bookcase where the Majid Fakhry translation sat untouched for quite some time. While I ended up giving her an online interpretation link, I also thought it was time to flip through the pages to read through a passage or two.

The passage I happened to open to was aptly chosen by chance, and I decided to share that passage with you above (2:190). News of continued terrorist bombings on innocent civilians and government workers in Pakistan surfaced again a few days ago, this time extremely close to my grandmother's home in one of the areas of Karachi considered the absolute safest (and ironically named "Defense"). She told my mother that she and the rest of the family felt the house boom and shake, and all were frightened.

While thankfully my family remained unharmed, 18 people were killed and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) building was severely damaged. Extremist Islamic groups promptly claimed responsibility. This was just one of the several attacks on innocent human beings by extremists in Pakistan this year - hundreds of market-goers, children in schools, peaceful worshippers in Shia, Sunni, and Sufi mosques, etc. have been repeatedly targeted and murdered by extremist groups, and the increasing spread of such disgustingly brainwashed, ignorant violence in the name of Islam is becoming a source of fear for Pakistanis there and abroad.

And when I opened to this passage today, I was again reminded of how terrible illiteracy, ignorance and the inability to think critically are, and what those negative qualities are doing to not only a nation, but the entire world. The passage from the Qur'an reads, "And fight for the Cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not be aggressive. Surely Allah does not like the aggressors," (2:190, Fakhry translation). This is only one of several passages in the Islamic text which stress the importance of tolerance, non-violence, non-aggression, and the acceptance of others that are different from us.

Yet somehow extremists (like those that massacred 70 innocent people including children at a Sunni mosque in Pakistan on Fri., Nov. 5) seem to have conveniently skipped this passage from the text they themselves claim to be their guide in "following" Islam. Maybe they genuinely cannot find this and other such passages? Did someone rip out those pages from their texts? Are the leaders of these brainwashed groups taking a Sharpie and blacking out the lines they choose for their own political and personal ideological agendas? Do the majority of suicide bombers even receive a Qur'an or know how to read before they decide to take their frustrations out on innocents?

They claim to be "following" Islam. They claim that the Qur'an is their guide. Yet still they go out and murder innocent men, women, and children. Have they not heard the word from their holy book, that God has asked them to "not be aggressive," and that their God "does not like aggressors" (2:190)?!

It all baffles me sometimes.

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