Islam does not justify acts of violence against innocent people. However, as in any other religion, it so happens that Islamic teachings of peace and tolerance get twisted, manipulated and exploited by those who seek to achieve their personal interests. Basic Islamic teachings do not forgive, justify or overlook any act of violence, especially when it sheds innocent blood.
Those who advocate violence and terrorism do not reflect the tolerant spirit of Islam. Terrorists inadvertently expose their own vicious mentalities by selectively referencing the Holy Quran.
In fact, there are numerous verses in the Holy Quran which prohibit the spilling of any innocent blood. However, in this day and age, when terrorism seems to have turned into a world epidemic it can become somewhat difficult for moderate Muslims to speak up against terrorism without frequently using the Holy Quran to vindicate their peaceful positions.
Fanatics, extremists and bloodthirsty maniacs tend to justify their terror by quoting verses from the Holy Quran, frequently out of context, using twisted interpretations to fit their destructive ideologies. Moderate Muslims who wish to fight terrorism, committed in the name of Islam, need to deal with such a repulsive ideology an eye for an eye; with a clear and positive interpretation of the Holy Quran against whatever twisted explanation used by fanatics.
For example, in Surat Al-Maida, verse 32, God says: “if any one slew a person — unless it be … would be as if he slew the whole people.” A peace-loving and reasonable Muslim will always interpret this central Quranic verse according to its true context: human life is sacred throughout time, and if one destroys one single innocent human life, they would have committed a universal atrocity.
Moreover, the Holy Quran contains a number of verses which prohibit the taking of human life for the sake of personal ideologies. Militant elements and extremists, however; seem to jumble the different interpretations of the Holy Quran to justify their destructive behavior. They do not put their twisted interpretations of some verses within its proper and correct Quranic perspectives and real contexts. Extremists would go as far as refuting the established scholarly interpretations of the holy book to suit their wicked purposes.
What seems to matter for such violent individuals is to win their ideological battles against those whom they consider as non-believers or none practicing Muslims. What seems also to work in fighting terrorism is to refute its basic causes. In order to refute the main causes of terrorism we should start with young Muslims.
For example, applying new educational curriculums which promote tolerance, peace and a rational interpretation of the Holy Quran is a good step. We as Muslims will continue to carry on our shoulders the moral responsibility of sharing with the world the messages of peace and tolerance of Islam.
Terrorists do not have exclusive rights to interpret the Holy Quran according to their violent ideologies. Moderate and peace-loving Muslims with enough knowledge about the peaceful messages of their faith need to speak up to counter the ideology of destructive terror.
By Khaled Aljenfawi