We are at war with ISIS. It’s not a war against another country but rather a group of crazed ideologues. They want to kill anyone who doesn’t 100% agree with their philosophy. But ISIS is not representative of Islam as a whole, and it’s time to stop conflating the two.
If you’re quoting the Qu’ran to prove Islam is a violent religion, you’re purposely ignoring the fact that it was written centuries ago, and that the Bible is also a violent book.
Just like Christians cherry pick passages from the Bible to follow, it stands to reason modern-day Muslims do the same. Yes, the Qu’ran talks about “stoning homosexuals,” but 10 times out of 10, people who bring that argument up are the same people who shouted about the 10th amendment when the Supreme Court made gay marriage the law of the land, and the same people who pointed to “religious liberty” as a reason to discriminate against gay people.
Remember, in more than 50% of states in the U.S., it’s legal to fire someone because they’re gay. It’s legal. That’s crazy.
Just like there are mostly non-religious Christians and Catholics who only go to mass on Christmas and Easter, so are there Muslims who are not particularly devout.
Not every Muslim prays five times a day. The secularization of society is a global movement that didn’t randomly skip over an entire major world religion.
Islam is not a “religion of violence.”
Let’s take a look at an overview of Christianity. The Pope had his own army for much of the Church’s history. The Crusades were about Catholic nobles and kings and queens in Spain and England and France and Italy attacking Israel because “Holy Land” or something. Christians traveled thousands of miles to kick Muslims out of a land that they didn’t personally live in. Italian provinces put Jews into ghettos. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain forced Jews to either convert to Christianity or flee (or face death), and even when Jews converted to Christianity they were still considered Jews and were still persecuted. When the Reformation happened, different kinds of Christians went to war against each other or massacred each other in the streets. St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in France targeted the Huguenots, and the Thirty Years’ War began because two Protestant nobles pushed two Catholic nobles out of a tower in Prague.
Meanwhile, as Christians were behaving poorly towards non-Christians or other kinds of Christians, the Ottoman Empire was one of the first governing bodies in the world to grant freedom of religion. Yes, non-Muslims paid more in taxes, but other than that they were left alone. In many cases, being a Jew in the Ottoman Empire was safer than being a Jew in Christian Europe.
Islam is not any more violent, historically speaking, than Christianity.
Refugees are not sympathetic to ISIS.
Humans of New York is doing some amazing work interviewing refugees waiting to be placed in the U.S. Many of these refugees are educated and not particularly religious. They’re middle class. They had normal lives with many of the same amenities we have here. And then ISIS began bombing their homes, and they either stayed and died or fled.
They just want to get on with their lives and provide for their children.
What about terrorist attacks?
As has been proven in San Bernardino, we are fighting a war of ideology. Radicalized Muslims are often born here in this country, not sneaking in from Syria. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, but the majority of Muslims want nothing to do with ISIS because ISIS hates the average Muslim just as much as ISIS hates everyone else.
If Islam isn’t a violent religion, why are Muslim countries in the Middle East so totalitarian or unsafe?
The West has a history of involving itself in the Middle East. In 1979, the Shah, propped up by the Western powers because of its anti-communist, Western stance, fell to radical Muslim clerics. These clerics were fed up with the Shah’s widespread corruption and tried to take back their “culture” by instituting regressive Sharia law. Sharia law in Iran is a direct result of Western meddling.
In the 1920s, Great Britain and France created arbitrary nation-states in the region with no regard to the culture or the people living there at the time. Groups of people who were formerly enemies were suddenly supposed to govern together, which led to some serious problems down the line, such as dictatorships oppressing minorities or opposing groups of people.
It’s important to keep the vetting process for refugees fairly strict. But to argue that Muslims are any less deserving of our compassion, is not what this country is about.
Featured image via raqqa-sl.com