Preach­ing un­der­stand­ing in wake of French at­tacks

The Compass - - OPINION -

In France, Is­lamic ex­trem­ists who went on a mur­der­ous ram­page at a satir­i­cal news­pa­per and at a Paris su­per­mar­ket greatly mis­rep­re­sented the teach­ings of Mo­hammed. Th­ese gun­men said th­ese vi­o­lent acts (that re­sulted in the deaths of over 20) were to “avenge the prophet Mo­hammed.”

Noted Is­lamic scholar and peace ac­tivist Maulana Wahidud­din Khan in an ar­ti­cle on blas­phemy writ­ten for the Cen­tre for Peace and Spir­i­tu­al­ity (Sept. 2012) looked at things dif­fer­ently. He wrote that, “the word blas­phemy ap­pears nowhere in the Ko­ran, nor does the Ko­ran any­where for­bid cre­at­ing images of Mo­hammed, though there are commentaries and tra­di­tions that do, to guard against idol wor­ship.”

Khan wrote, “there are more than 200 verses in the Ko­ran that con­tem­po­raries of the prophet(s) re­peat­edly per­pe­trated the same act, which is now called blas­phemy or abuse of the Prophet, but nowhere does the Ko­ran pre­scribe pun­ish­ment of lashes, or death or any other phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment.”

In his es­say on blas­phemy, Khan wrote, “On sev­eral oc­ca­sions, Mo­hammed treated peo­ple who ridiculed him and his teach­ings with un­der­stand­ing and kind­ness.” Khan pointed out that in Is­lam, “blas­phemy is a sub­ject of in­tel- lec­tual dis­cus­sion rather than a sub­ject of phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment.”

Although writ­ten a cou­ple of years back, Khan’s words are to­day poignant re­minders that de­spite Mo­hammed’s mes­sage of peace and love found in the Ko­ran, th­ese ter­ror­ists will still pro­fess their love for him even as they carry out their de­spi­ca­ble mur­der­ous acts. It is their evil man­i­festo so feared by peace­ful peo­ple world­wide.

Many Mus­lims read the Holy Bi­ble to even­tu­ally learn and un­der­stand the Chris­tian phi­los­o­phy. Per­haps it is time for us to read the Ko­ran and like our Mus­lim friends learn to un­der­stand its mes­sage of peace and love.

— Bill West­cott writes from Clarke’s Beach

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