Islam Imagine You're Sitting in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

And just as different divisions of Christianity are more or less fundamentalist in their interpretation of religious texts and traditions, different divisions of Islam are more or less strict. The most fundamentalist version of Islam, one that is primarily associated with Saudi Arabia, is Wahhabism. Muslims who follow this minority version of Sunni believe that they are the only true Muslims and that other branches of Islam are illegitimate (Cleveland, 2004, p.123). In some ways, the division between Wahhabism is like that between Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation and Counter-reformation or that between Orthodox and Reform Judaism. All major religions have internal divisions, and all major religions -- including also Hinduism and Buddhism -- can be organized along a spectrum from most conservative to most liberal.

Some followers of Wahhabi Islam have been responsible for horrific violence. There is no justification for their actions. It is true that -- despite the fact that every Islamist terrorist attack seems to be followed by experts saying that Islam is an entirely peaceful religion -- that there are sections in the Koran that can be read as justifications for violence. However, there are far more passages in the Bible that advocate violence, something that Christians are likely either to ignore or deny.

The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery. The Koran often urges believers to fight, yet it also commands that enemies be shown mercy when they surrender. Some frightful portions of the Bible, by contrast, go much further in ordering the total extermination of enemies, of whole families and races - of men, women, and children, and even their livestock, with no quarter granted (Jenkins, 2009).

Those whose hearts are filled with violence and evil will find whatever justification they can to hurt others. Religious traditions and religious texts have for millennia provided fertile ground for those looking for justification for violence and terrorism. This is true of some Muslims. It was true of the KKK. And the Spanish Inquisition. And Shinto extremists releasing lethal gas on Japanese trains.

The Devil can quote scripture to his own purpose, a traditional American adage states. And the terrorist can quote the Koran -- or the Bible -- to his own ends as well. But we all have an obligation to remember that most of those who look to any religious text and who ally themselves to any community of faith, are as decent as is each of us.

References

Cleveland, W.L. (2004). A history of the modern middle east. (3rd ed.) Boulder: Westview Press.

Jenkins, P. (2009, March 8). Dark passages. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/03/08/dark_passages/.

Sources Used in Document:

References

Cleveland, W.L. (2004). A history of the modern middle east. (3rd ed.) Boulder: Westview Press.

Jenkins, P. (2009, March 8). Dark passages. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/03/08/dark_passages/.

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