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Muslims are violent, terrorists and/or extremists

 

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 This is the biggest misconception about Islam, no doubt resulting from the constant stereotyping and bashing the media gives Islam. When a gunman attacks a mosque in the name of Judaism, a Catholic IRA guerrilla sets off a bomb in an urban area, or Serbian Orthodox militiamen rape and kill innocent Muslim civilians, these acts are not used to stereotype an entire faith. Never are these acts attributed to the religion of the perpetrators. Yet how many times have we heard the words 'Islamic, Muslim fundamentalist, etc.' linked with violence. Many people use the name of religions for their own purposes. One should consult the source of Islam and separate what the true religion of Islam says from what is portrayed in the media. Islam literally means 'submission to Allah' and is derived from a root word meaning 'peace'.

Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion doesn't dominate everyday life in the West, whereas Islam is considered a 'way of life' for Muslims and they make no division between secular and sacred in their lives. Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defence, in defence of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat, which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. Nowhere does Islam enjoin the killing of innocents. The Quran says: {Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. Allah does not love transgressors} (Quran 2:190), {If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in Allah for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things} (Quran 8:61)

War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term 'jihad' literally means 'struggle'. Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihad. The other 'jihad' is the inner struggle of the soul, which everyone wages against egotistic desires for the sake of attaining inner peace.

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