Terrorism Vs. Religion

The flag previously used by ISIS

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The flag previously used by ISIS

We decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all people.
-Quran 5:32

If you’re unaware of what the Quran is, it’s the Islamic holy book. Lately the Islamic belief has been all over social media, news outlets, and papers talking about the connection between Islam and terrorism.

In the past 15 years, there have been several terrorist incidents worldwide the FBI credits to Islamic extremists. The September 11, 2001 terroristic attacks were later linked to the radical Sunni Islamic group, Al Qaida. The same group also took responsibility for attacks in Morocco, Indonesia, Istanbul, and many other countries.

Another terrorist group that has been making headlines is Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). This organization has been blamed for a series of attacks in Paris, France on November 13. A total of six locations were targeted, the attack killed 130 civilians and injured over 300 others. Places impacted include two restaurants and a concert hall. After the attack many pundits blamed Islam for advocating violence and terrorism.

In my eyes, terrorism has no religion. The Quran teaches, “Whoever kills a mu’ahid [non-combatant, innocent non-muslim] will not smell the scent of paradise.” That excerpt alone contradicts anyone’s belief that Islam perpetuates terrorism. Suicide bombings are a favored way for these extremists to conduct terrorism. However in the Quran, suicide is forbidden over and over again. “Whoever killed himself in the world with anything, then Allah will punish him by that same thing on the day of judgement,” said the Prophet Muhammad. North Platte High School junior and Shia-Borhi Muslim, Soha Vaziri said, “I think because the Quran is written in Arabic and was written so long ago, that it is very open to translation. What ISIS is doing is taking the ideas from the Quran and flip flopping the ideas to fit their needs best.” Junior Riley Dehr says Americans are being influenced by post-9/11 propaganda. “Their basic instinct is that Islam is synonymous with terrorism, when terrorism is actually universal,” he said.

Time Magazine columnist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently wrote that terrorism isn’t connected to religion, but to money. He says terrorists don’t commit these acts to scare people into changing their behavior; they commit these acts in order to look like they’re tough in hope of getting more recruits and donations to keep their organization thriving.

If we are defining the Islamic faith as terroristic based on the acts committed by ISIS, then with that logic Christians are terrorists. Christianity has several of its own hate groups, from the Westboro Baptist Church to the Klu Klux Klan. “Does the Westboro Baptist Church and the Klu Klux Klan represent Christians? No, so then why does ISIS and al Qaida represent Islam?” said Vaziri.

The Southern Poverty Law Centern states the WBC as one of the strongest religiously-based hate groups in America. The church is affiliated with the Baptist denomination of Christianity. Westboro Church often uses Bible scriptures to validate their protests. The WBC is known for their anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender views. Their preferred type of harassment is picketing. One of the groups most notorious protests was Matthew Shepard’s funeral. Shepard, a gay college student, had been brutally murdered in a vicious hate crime.

“Thank God for dead soldiers” and “You’re going to hell,” is what the WBC’s signs read at their protest of United States Marine Matthew Snyder’s funeral. He died in battle while serving in Iraq.

The infamous Ku Klux Klan also vowed to sustain white supremacy by killing at least 3,446 African-Americans since its inception. The Klan didn’t just commit these crimes to keep whites the majority, but for their version of Christian ideals.

Webster’s Diction defines terrorism as “The use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” Violence and intimidation is surely what the WBC and KKK are doing, so therefore, they are committing terrorism in the name of Christianity.

If we’re not going to label the most popular American religion, Christianity, as terrorists, then we should not label Muslims as terrorists either.