Harming people is not in the true teachings of Islam

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Originally published in The St. Louis Dispatch

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As we reflect on the tragic events that unfolded at the Boston Marathon a year ago and try to understand what brought the perpetrators to this dark place, let us not blame the Islamic faith.

There is no place in a true Islamic conversion experience that allows for the wanton killing of other people. The Holy Quran, the main sourcebook of Islam, explains that life is so sacred that, “whosoever killed a person . . . it shall be as if he killed all mankind” (5:32).

As a convert to Islam, I found Islam attractive because of its insight into the nature of God. He is described as the Gracious, the Merciful, the Compassionate, and the Peaceful among other qualities and Muslims are exhorted to develop these attributes and to practice them in their daily lives. How can anyone express these attributes and yet commit such a heinous attack?

I empathize with those of my friends and neighbors who are harmed in the name of Islam. But let it be clear, these actions do not find their origins in the true teachings of Islam.

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