Dismantling Islamophobia: The Qur’an According to Muslims – CultNoise Project
After the Paris attacks, I came up with the idea to compile a collection of quotes and stories from Muslims and/or people who have studied the Qur’an to address and dismantle the onslaught of Islamophobia being directed an innocent Muslims and refugees who are being wrongly associated with terrorism. We got some great and really fascinating quotes after appeaing for contributors and I hope everyone enjoys reading them. If you have any thoughts, please let me know in the comment section below.
A big thank you to Matt Sloan and Rania Mattar from CultNoise for helping me put the piece together, and thank you to the people who contributed.
Published by CultNoise magazine.
In the wake of the Paris terror attacks last week (November 13), we have unfortunately, but sadly not surprisingly, seen a huge backlash against the Muslim community with everything from ignorant and abusive posts on social media, to news reports of racially motivated assaults against innocent Muslims. In response to the onslaught of Islamophobia that followed the attacks, CultNoise appealed to readers who are Muslim and/or have studied the Qur’an to tell us what the religion of Islam truly stands for.
In order to illustrate that no religion is inherently good or evil, it’s down to how people choose to interpret it, we asked our readers to share their stories and interpretations of Islam to create a genuine and accurate picture of the religion. We at CultNoise believe that all forms of discrimination are unacceptable, and Islamophobia, too, should not be tolerated. ISIS and other extremist groups are not representative of Islam or any other religion, as our contributors told us:
“The representation of Islam in my last twenty years of comprehension has become so warped, that I myself find it difficult to have my single voice of reason heard in a sea of Islamophobia.
Throughout history and recent times, it is evident that our Western politicians need to find and infamously hail a scapegoat. In our current affairs, it seems to be Muslims and Islam.
‘Whoever kills a human being it shall be as if he has killed all of mankind, and whoever so saves the life of one, it shall be as if he saved the life of all mankind.‘ – Chapter 5; verse 32, Qur’an.
This is the single sentence that cannot be emphasised, highlighted, shared and understood enough.
Islam is a religion that perpetuates peace and love among brothers and sisters, a phrase that the right wing and Islamophobes are tired of hearing and have never believed in. Regardless, I’ll still continue to write and share and educate those around me who are ignorant as best as possible. I’ll try not to hold my breath, and thrust my head into my hands with frustration and preparation of my defence, my condemning of a terror act, anytime I hear or see of an attack. I’ll keep doing so and hopefully my sisters, aged 3 and 6-years-old, won’t have to endure bullying for their skin colour or religion. They won’t have to deal with offensive language scrawled in black marker on their front doors. Hopefully, those will be incidents that voices like mine can end.”
– Sidrah Choudhry, full-time international politics student
“The Qur’an 6:151 says: ‘…and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully,’ i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted.
5:53 says: ‘…whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.’
This is the most important point in the Qur’an discussing how murder is strictly forbidden.”
– Nora Adlouni, CultNoise writer
“The Qur’an does not condone violence. I have studied the Qur’an and Islamic sciences growing up for more than 12 years. I don’t identify with a lot of the teachings anymore. But it’s fair to say that Islam, like most religions out there, aims to establish an ethical code through which people can coexist in peace and harmony.
Generally speaking, many verses in the Qur’an promote peace and see it as the ultimate goal. It would be disingenuous, however, to say that there aren’t verses that condone violence. They are explicitly applicable to specific situations. And some verses are just plain intolerance and cruelty. However, in this sense, the Qur’an is not any different than any other ancient text – the Bible for instance – in which the portrayed God takes a very rigid stance on many subjects, such as homosexuality, extramarital relationships and many other topics.
Trying to prove, however, that there are no parts of the Qur’an that condone violence would be like trying to prove that the Bible does not condone violence. But any sensible person who reads the Bible would say that by today’s standards, some parts of it do. And the same goes for the Qur’an. But the overall message is a message of peace, and the overall objective of the religion is to be an ethical guide.
In the context of taking innocent lives, the Qur’an’s standpoint is in Surah 5 Verse 32: ‘…whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.’ But even in this verse, where the Qur’an makes it a heinous crime to take a life, it does make exceptions: ‘…unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land.’ And this is what the radicals feed on. Because that part is open to interpretation to some extent. But I think ultimately, if someone wants to commit evil, then they would interpret anything as a message of evil.”
– Mohamed Arab, Heriot-Watt University
Mohamed’s views are his own and not representative of his employer.
What does the Qur’an mean to you? Let us know in the comment section below.
Featured image courtesy of Muhammad Ghouri via Flickr.