22 December 2015

U.S. Muslims Reach Out to Address Questions on Islam and Violence

.... Instead, no matter how exasperated they may privately feel, some Muslims are beginning to publicly confront the uncomfortable questions that non-Muslims have about Islam and violence, and trying to provide answers, both through words and through the example of how they live their lives.

Here in the classroom, Mr. Issa told students to look beyond Islam to the deeper and more universal causes of violence. “What’s happening right now is not religious, even though ISIS and Al Qaeda are covered as a religious thing,” he said. “In reality, it’s political.”

Mr. Issa also spoke this month at the downtown public library with Boyd Patterson, an assistant district attorney, who self-published a book compiling verses in the Quran that could be used by extremists to justify violence and terrorism.

The two held a forthright discussion about those verses, and why most Muslims do not read them as justification for terrorism because, Mr. Issa said, they were written in a very different historical context, when Islam was an upstart faith challenging the status quo, and are primarily prescriptions for self-defense — not justifications for terrorism. [NYTimes.com] Read more