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Violence in Islam

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jbouder
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0 posted 03-31-2004 10:52 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, which left both in flames. Others chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam."

Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from a green iron bridge across the Euphrates.

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20040331/D81LDD300.html

I think most people who see this kind of thing are troubled by it.  But it surprises me that more people do not ask what Allah and Islam have to do with mutilating corpses and hanging them like animal carcasses from a bridge. All the Muslims I know are Sunni Muslims (I’ve never met a Shi’ite or Sufi) and regard “Jihad” along similar lines of how Christians regard apologetics.  Apparently a sizable crowd in Fallujah sees it differently.

As I understand the Qur’anic revelations, during the first period of Muhammad’s ministry in Mecca, prior to his flight to Medina, Muhammad is primarily a “warner” calling men to moral reform in recognition of their accountability to God.  When his ministry was well received in Medina, and Muhammad secured his political power after consolidating numerous Arab clans in and around Medina (thereby ending blood feuds), the tenor of the Qur’anic revelations begins to change.

Qur’anic revelations during the “Medinan Period” endorsed Muhammad’s policy of raiding Meccan trade caravans, granting permission “[to fight] because they are wronged … [They are] those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right … except that they say ‘Our Lord is God’” (Sura 22:39-40).  Later revelations would command, “Then fight in the cause of God, and know that God heareth and knoweth all things” (Sura 2:244).  Supposedly because some were reluctant to take up arms, even later revelations offered incentives to those who fight (versus “those who sit at home and receive no hurt”) such as “special rewards” and entrance to Paradise (Suras 4:95-96; 3:194-195).

Muhammad’s military power quickly increased, and within a few years, he had succeeded in winning several battles and conquering Mecca.  After Mecca’s fall to Muhammad, numerous Arabian tribes swore allegiance to him, while others were defeated by the Muslim armies.  Heathen tribes were required to renounce paganism and profess Islam, often at the point of the scimitar (reminiscent of Constantine’s 3rd century behavior or that of the Crusaders – things few thinking Christians consider particularly “Christian”), while Jews and Christians could practice their own faiths, but were required to pay taxes and tributes.

It is interesting that, while the Qur’an teaches that the means to salvation are belief or faith (iman) and action (amal) – “To those who believe And do deeds of righteousness Hath God promised forgiveness And a great reward” (Sura 5:10) (“Belief” or iman includes (1) belief in the oneness of Allah, (2) belief in the prophecy of Muhammad, and (3) belief in life after death), there is no Qur’anic assurance of salvation in Islam that I’m aware of except when one fights in Jihad.

What responsibilities do Muslim leaders and laity have in publicly denouncing this behavior as contrary to the will of Allah as revealed in their holy books: the Qur’an, Tawrat (Torah) and Injil (Gospel)?  Are they afraid?  Are they denouncing it and not getting media attention?  Or is such a public denunciation in some way inconsistent with Qur’anic revelation?

Jim

Ringo
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1 posted 03-31-2004 01:42 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

I've nevere read the Q'ran, and have never seriously studies the islamic faith, however I do know a few who follow it, and the discussions we have had lead me to believe that Islam and Christianity aren't as far apart as most people would want to believe.
All of my friends have denounced these terrorist actions in the strongest language possible, and feel that these extremists are NOT following the teachings of the true Islamic faith.
As for the leader's responsibility... I figure it falls in-line with the leader of ANY religious sect, whether it be the Pope or the Reverend Billy Graham.

Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs...

serenity blaze
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2 posted 03-31-2004 05:39 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Since this admittedly over my head, I am going to be brave (smile?) and right now my only goal is to understand the question.

Could you explain this to me (gently please?)

"All the Muslims I know are Sunni Muslims (I’ve never met a Shi’ite or Sufi) and regard “Jihad” along similar lines of how Christians regard apologetics."
jbouder
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3 posted 04-01-2004 12:18 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Serentity:

Sure.  Please bear in mind that I've only been seriously studying Islam now for about a month and a half.

Islam has many sects, but the three largest are the Sunnis (about 80%), Shi'ites (about 10-15%, and Sufis (about 5%).  The Sunnis and Shi'ites parted ways shortly after Muhammad's death over a disagreement concerning who should succeed Muhammad as the spiritual/political leader of Islam.

Sunnis are generally more conservative (the demonstrators in Fallujah would be exceptions to that general rule), Shi'ites tend to be more fundamentalistic, and Sufis bear more resemblance to eastern mystics (like Hindus) then they do to orthodox Muslims.

"Jihad" is an Arabic word loosely translated as "holy war" but, for the majority, it is better defined as a sacred struggle, either by word OR by sword, in the cause of Allah (the Islamic name for the one true God).  For many Muslims, the reasoned defense of their faith would fall under, by definition, jihad in as similar way to how Stephan and I may consider our defense of and advancement of positive arguments in support of the truth claims of Christianity a "sacred struggle."  

Ringo:

That's encouraging to hear.  Thanks.

Jim
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4 posted 04-01-2004 12:24 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"Islam has many sects, but the three largest are the Sunnis (about 80%), Shi'ites (about 10-15%, and Sufis (about 5%).  The Sunnis and Shi'ites parted ways shortly after Muhammad's death over a disagreement concerning who should succeed Muhammad as the spiritual/political leader of Islam."

~ Isn't it interesting how major religions parallel one another? It raises my right eyebrow all the time.




"You sleep in the night yet the night and the silent water still so dark."
serenity blaze
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5 posted 04-01-2004 04:04 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thanks j.

Denise
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6 posted 04-01-2004 10:46 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
"Jihad" is an Arabic word loosely translated as "holy war" but, for the majority, it is better defined as a sacred struggle, either by word OR by sword, in the cause of Allah


Jim, it's that "OR sword" part that concerns me.
Local Rebel
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7 posted 04-04-2004 11:43 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

First and best resource for understanding the Middle East would be this article http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/90sep/rage.htm

It's good to be getting to know Islam Jim.  By about 2030 it will be the most popular religion on the planet given the current growth rate.  A couple of things should be noted in regards to your inference about Jihad;

There is no original sin in Islam.  A baby is born in perfect submission to Allah -- which is what Islam means -- submission to God.  When a person reaches the age of puberty his account of deeds is opened in Paradise -- then at death their good deeds must outweigh their bad deeds.  

Jihad is not really a Holy War -- as most in the West would think.  It is the internal, personal struggle toward the attainment of a noble goal.  It could be a war -- but not necessarily. They will say the most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self. The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.

As I understand it defiling a dead body is in direct violation of the teachings of the Qu'ran.

Source for understanding Islam http://www.twf.org/

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (04-05-2004 12:04 AM).]

Brad
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8 posted 04-05-2004 12:19 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

LR,

That's the Lewis essay, right? Said must be turning over in his grave about now.
Local Rebel
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9 posted 04-05-2004 06:19 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Yep, the very one Brad.  It's 14 years old now -- but nobody was paying attention back then... unfortunately.
Denise
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10 posted 04-07-2004 10:47 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I think Jim's referrence to the change in the tone of the Qur'an from basically peaceful to advocating violence has a lot to do with the violence that we are seeing across the globe today. There are those who believe that they have the permission and blessings of Allah to do what they are doing. There are those who believe that they are actually assured of entering Paradise only through the violence that they are wreaking upon Allah's supposed enemies. And then there are those who are only using Islam as a tool to further their political aims.

Maybe the peaceful element is afraid to speak out. But I don't see that things will get any better for Islam's image until the peaceful leaders in Islam find the courage to speak their own convictions that what is going on is unacceptable if they think it is. If they don't speak out we can't really know what they think one way or the other. It's kind of hard to really see Islam as a religion of peace when the only "leaders" we ever hear from are the ones calling for death, destruction and conquest.

I read an article yesterday that stated that Palestine has a 25% Christian population...Palestinians who are Christian, and asks the question, why do we not see the Christian segment of the Palestinians becoming suicide bombers? Are they not also being "occupied" by Israel and "oppressed" by the West? What is the difference between the Muslim Palestinian and the Christian Palestinian, what leads the one to incite violence and the other not?
 
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