When Islamist extremists commit acts of violence, Muslims must resist the temptation to simply say the extremists “are not Muslims,” emphasized Naser Khader, a member of the Parliament in Denmark of the Conservative People’s Party. Simply denying that the extremists are true believers excuses the moderates from having to advocate for reform in Islam, he explained.
“We cannot say that the Islamic State are not Muslims. That is what they call themselves,” he said. ISIS has a state built on a “jihadist vision of Islam,” he said, murdering and enslaving other people “with the Koran in their hands.” (Source)
Even Muslims like Mr. Khader can see the stupidity of political correctness.
The positive statements from Muslims related in that article are a good start. I strongly commend them for speaking out against radical Islam.
But several parts of the Koran and other Islamic literature openly and plainly call for violence against non-believers. This represents a formidable challenge for Islam which is struggling to find a peaceful answer within its own belief framework to justify coexistence with “infidels”.
Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists. But nor are they very eager to denounce it. This article from Jihad Watch does a masterful job of running through a list of protests held by peaceful Muslims against terrorism. None gathered more than 50 people. The list includes a “rally” in Toronto in 2013 which drew only 25 people. In contrast, the article shows how thousands participated in protests against cartoons of Mohammed or Charlie Hebdo’s satire.
Let’s face it: while most Muslims aren’t terrorists, there’s nonetheless a worrying asymmetry in how they react to terrorist attacks vs. attacks against Islam.
Notice also that Muslims who denounce terrorism typically don’t do it by quoting from the Koran. In the article quoted at the top, one Muslim invoked “common sense” to refute a direct quote from the Koran instructing to “kill the Mushrikun” i.e. those who believe in a God other than Allah.
Obviously, this need to highlight the contradiction between the Truth and the Koran shows that the latter is not from God. It also shows how the solution to Islam’s problems are being proposed from outside Islam. That’s a risky proposition because you’re asking Muslims to reject their scriptures in favour of a Christian-flavoured approach to human rights and the respect of others. Can it succeed? I personally don’t find it very promising. That Muslim above who refuted the Koran is probably seen as a compromised liberal by many Muslims.
Pope Benedict was way ahead of his time, at his Regensburg lecture in 2006, when he asked if Islam could find arguments for religious tolerance within its own spiritual and intellectual resources. So far, it’s not looking good.
It’s entirely possible that the rise of Islam is on much shakier ground than it seems. A wise priest told me that many Muslims in the Middle East are attracted to Christianity, but they can’t act on it because they and their families could be put to death even for merely showing interest in another religion.
The “common sense” invoked by the Muslim above is a manifestation of the natural law inscribed in every heart. If it takes hold in a sufficient number of hearts in light of the increasing atrocities perpetuated in the name of Islam, we could see a critical mass of change. But again, that would be a change originating from outside Islam’s tradition, since the natural law is not part of their beliefs. I’m not optimistic about Islam finding a Koran-based solution to religious tolerance, but I do believe in the power of the Gospel to convert hearts.
May God help us.