Originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent
According to them, it is an act of Islamic virtue to fire a pistol or gun at an innocent person. Where are those who will act like the Companions of the Holy Prophet and remain patient while suffering torture? Has God commanded us to capture complete strangers and cut them to pieces or to shoot them without reason or proof of an offence? Can a religion be from God if it teaches that you can enter paradise by killing His blameless and innocent creatures — to whom you have not even delivered the message? Is it not shameful that a complete stranger should be unjustly killed while occupied in his daily affairs, thus widowing his wife, making his children orphans, and turning his house into a funeral parlor?
—Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, from British Government and Jihad
These words were pronounced by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad over 100 years ago, but these words couldn’t be more timely today. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a leading figure in defending Islam when the sanctity of the religion was being attacked by the British government in India at the turn of the 20th century. During those times Hindus and Christian missionaries attacked Islam, and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the leading figure in showcasing that Islam is a religion that creates peace in society. Today, the sanctity of Islam is being attacked on all fronts to the extent that the restriction of Muslims from entering the United States has come into consideration.
Indeed, it is shameful for any person to murder another. As a Muslim, it becomes more shameful when such a murder is committed in the name of Islam.
Extremists who commit murder in the name of Islam are a threat to all, including Muslims. ISIS has killed more Muslims than any other group. The actions of these extremists and their misrepresentation of Islam put loyal American Muslims in danger, as well. Innocent Muslims are attacked and cursed at in response to these terrorist attacks. Look at the story of Dr. Bilal Rana, the president of one the largest Muslim youth associations in the United States, who was detained for being a potential terrorist. Dr. Rana was coming back from leading a conference in teaching Muslim youth how to fight back against ISIS through peace, yet he was detained simply because he was a Muslim.
In order to combat ISIS and other extremist groups, we cannot give in to fear. They use religion merely as a mask to hide their political agenda of violence. ISIS doesn’t represent Islam any more than the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity. ISIS’s use of force and violence goes against the tenets of the Holy Qur’an. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad states:
“How can we describe Islam as a religion of compulsion, when its Holy Book, the Holy Quran, unequivocally commands: ‘There should be no compulsion in religion … ‘ 2:257) This simply means that you are not allowed to convert people by force; there is freedom of choice. Can we ever accuse the great Prophet Muhammad of using force? For thirteen years of his Meccan life, he continued to exhort his companions not to return evil for evil, and to forbear and forgive. Only when mischief exceeded all limits, and everyone joined hands to try to obliterate Islam, God’s wrath required that those who kill by the sword should be killed by the sword.” Jesus in India, pp. 10-11.
How can ISIS use violence and force in the name of Islam when the Holy Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad himself did not do so? Simple. ISIS doesn’t represent Islam nor follow its true teachings.