I wish I knew a lot more about the Muslim religion than I do. I've never read the Quran. I've never attended a Muslim service. Heck . . . I've never sat down with a Muslim and had an in-depth conversation about their religion. So I may well have a lot of incorrect ideas and "facts." All I've done is research using the internet . . . not the most reliable source of information.
I have been told many times, by many sources that the Muslim religion is a religion of peace and tolerance. I've heard this through news media and religious leaders from other religions. So I believe this is true.
I have also been told many times, by many sources that the Quran does, in fact, have numerous passages that seems to urge followers to kill nonbelievers. Additionally, I understand that for a Muslim there is no separation between church and state. There's only one law and that is sharia law. And that all Muslims must follow sharia law.
So in my mind there is a contradiction here that I don't fully understand. In Christianity there are contradictions to but as I understand it they are separated from each other as the Old Testament and the New Testament. But honestly even this doesn't make total sense to me as the 10 Commandments are in the Old Testament not the New Testament.
Nevertheless, I'm left with a question of how does a mainstream Muslim believer know which passages of the Quran to believe in and which passages they should ignore and not follow. Maybe someone can help me understand this. But in some ways that's not really all that important.
What is important is that mainstream Muslims comprise the vast, vast majority of of all Muslims and they are peace-loving and ignore certain parts of the Quran. It is only a small fringe of Muslims that choose to believe every word of the Quran and want to follow all teachings. And only a small portion that want to kill us.
Let's be clear . . . I have no problem whatsoever with the mainstream Muslims. Quite the contrary! I honestly see mainstream Muslims as the key to a peaceful world in the future.
But I have a lot of deep anger and passion against those radical Muslims that believe in waging war against the United States and other countries that do not believe as they believe.
Unfortunately I can't personally tell a mainstream Muslim from a radical Muslim. And neither can most any non-Muslim. To do that the only way is to look deep into some one's heart. And as an outsider to the Muslim religion I simply cannot do that. And if I tried, the radicalized Muslim could simply lie and I would never be able to tell the difference. The truth would escape me. And it would escape most any American . . . Muslim or non-Muslim!
My next-door neighbor and his wife appear to be of some middle Eastern descent. I don't know . . . maybe Iranian. Maybe Syrian, maybe Saudi, Honestly it doesn't matter. And while I have talked with them numerous times, the subject of religion has never come up. I've been curious but I have never asked. Ahmed's wife does not wear a burka, so I'm guessing that may mean they are not Muslim. But I could be wrong!
But if I ask Ahmed if he is a Muslim, he could answer either truthfully or untruthfully and I would never know the difference. But let's say he answered that he was, in fact, a Muslim. How would I know if he was part of the vast majority of moderate Muslims or if he was in fact one of the radicalized Muslims? There is no way that I could know!
My guess is the only people that might know would be his family (perhaps), close Muslim friends or fellow Muslims he attends services with. But the chance of me knowing would be virtually zero!
So this is why I think the key to everything is for moderate Muslims to aggressively try to identify radicalized Muslims. Honestly, it's these radicalized Muslims that are making life difficult for mainstream Muslims. And it's in everyone's best interest to "ferret out" these radical Muslims so they can be dealt with appropriately.
I'm sure a normal Muslim can easily understand the situation that we non-Muslims find ourselves in. There is an enemy that has vowed to kill us all . . . and we cannot identify them until such time as they show their heart by trying to kill us!! At that time, we know and we can protect ourselves hopefully. But until that time, we are forced to be somewhat suspicious of anyone that we think might possibly be a radical Muslim. And we can't even identify a Muslim with certainty! I guess if a Muslim woman is wearing a Burka we would know. But Muslims can and are of every race and nationality. They can be white Americans, black Americans, Chinese-Americans or any other nationality or race!
But the demographics of people from the Middle East tends to suggest that more of them are Muslim so we can't help but profile to some extent. And I believe we should.
And it's important to note that not all terrorists are Muslim! Quite the contrary! Religion is not the only thing that leads someone to become a terrorist! But right now these radical Muslims are embracing terrorism in the United States and the world and they have our attention.
It sure would be easier if there was a simple way to identify a radical Muslim who believes in terror but that is impossible. So in the meantime, our mainstream Muslim friends need to help us ferret out out these evil doers! And they need to understand why there is currently an unfair negative sentiment against Muslims. It's not right. It's not fair. But it's understandable.
Godiva President's Column for March
3 weeks ago