‘Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits’. Too often this line in the Qu’ran is misinterpreted by many people, Muslim and Non-Muslim alike. This is wrong. As is anyone who misuses, in the same way, the biblical teaching of an ‘eye for an eye’. Bayo Adebiyi-Tanice wants to see harmony between the world’s religions
The dictionary defines ‘terrorism’ as ‘the systematic use of violence in order to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes’.
The truth is – regardless of religion or nationality, using extreme systematic acts of violence is unethical. Acts of terrorism or murder can’t be justified by anyone.
But when some people think of Islam, the first thing that comes to mind is terrorism. Of the world’s population, 22.43% are Muslim. That amounts to close to 1, 600,100,000 people and counting. Of these, less than 0.1% have had any involvement with terrorism.
Islam teaches peace and harmony
Contrary to popular belief, Islam is a religion that teaches peace and harmony. The words mercy, peace and compassion are mentioned in the Qu’ran at least 355 times; the word Jihad is mentioned at most about 41 times. So why do people choose to seek out the negative in Islam and focus on it?
These past few months I’ve been asking people what the biggest act of recent terrorism was. As you’d expect, most of people responded with ‘9/11’. Some people even said 7/7.
‘Why?’ I asked.
Rightly they responded ‘close to 3,000 innocent people lost their lives’.
I condemn both 9/11 and 7/7. They were inhumane and horrific acts.
However, consider the dictionary definition of terrorism, and the expressed view that the number of people who died makes 9/11 the biggest recent act of ‘terrorism’.
Then consider: when Afghanistan was bombed, 15,000 innocent people were killed; in Iraq, 500,000 civilians have died.
The arguments were that Afghanistan was ‘harbouring terrorists’. And Iraq had ‘Weapons of mass destruction’. Which were never found.
In fact in history, America is the only country to have ever used weapons of mass destruction. Twice.
Christianity or Judaism teach ‘Thou shall not kill’. Islam gains its name from the root word ‘Salama’, the origin of the words Peace. Buddhists believe in non-violence and Hindus that ‘ non-violence, comes from strength, and the strength is from God, not man’.
So rather than backlash and retaliation for bloodshed, isn’t there another way – no matter which religion or nationality you are? Or even if you do not follow religion, do you believe in a peaceful world?
Can we all unite and strive for a world encapsulated in harmony?
Words by Bayo Adebiyi-Tanice (mentor for Kori in Haringey www.kori.org.uk)
Photographs by Imad (Dandelion Project and new economics foundation www.neweconomics.org/)