Opinion

Islam's 'flaws' are not Islamic at all

Those in media, politics and UW-Madison students should assess the facts before making public charges that serve to undermine or single out a particular group of people.

Image By: Katie Scheidt-Cardinal File Photo

In light of the recently published article in The Daily Cardinal regarding Islam’s flaws, I took it upon myself to research the alleged charges laid against Islam and its doctrines. The author, Kort Driessen, repeatedly stated his desire to engage in open and honest dialogue about the flaws of Islam. However, his request for honest conversation is undermined by his own bias and uninformed opinions.

To be clear, I am a strong proponent of open dialogue and the sharing of opinions. My issue with the article was not the opinions that were stated, but the blatantly false and factually unfounded claims it made. For these reasons, I will not be discussing the problem of intolerance or political incorrectness, rather the truth of the matter at hand: Islamophobia. Driessen correctly identifies Islamophobia as an irrational fear of Islam. However, by laying false and unfounded charges without sources in an attempt to foster dialogue, he perfectly fits the mold of an Islamophobe.

With regards to the ban, Islamophobia was precisely the correct term to employ. In the original version of his executive order, President Donald Trump repeatedly said he would grant priority to Christian refugees trying to come into the United States. This was said despite the fact that both Muslims and Christians are the unfortunate victims of the conflict-prone zones included in the ban. Not to mention the little-known fact that the majority of ISIS’s victims are Muslim.

Now let’s move on to the specific charges made to the “Holy Book,” or the Quran. I would challenge Driessen to approach me with the Quran and show me the verses that state death should come to nonbelievers of Islam. I can assure you no such verse exists. I will also disprove this charge with a verse from the Quran that states “if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or to spread mischief in the land—it would be as if he killed all mankind” (5:32). To kill an innocent in Islam is not taken lightly, and to those who practice Islam in its true form, peace is encouraged as a way of life. As the customary Islamic greeting goes, “Al Salam Aleikum”, directly translated as “peace be upon you.”

Secondly, Driessen charges that the Holy Book calls for “apostates to be slain.” While there are Muslim-majority countries with laws in place regarding the execution of apostates, this command is nowhere to be found in the Quran. This fact was confirmed by both the Huffington Post and Sheikh Mustafa Umar, the Director of Education and Outreach at Islamic Institute of Orange County. The phrase regarding slaying apostates actually comes from the Bible and not the Quran. The Quran repeatedly states the freedom of choice in religion: “There is no compulsion in religion,”(5:32). and “Let him who will believe and let him who will disbelieve”(18:29).

As a woman from the Middle East and as a woman who lived the majority of her life in the Muslim-majority country of Jordan, I can attest to never feeling subservient to any man, nor have I seen such subservience imposed on any women around me. Furthermore, women under Islamic law were granted property rights and legal rights long before women in the West had ever enjoyed them.

I will end by saying that Islam is not a religion of violence. I firmly believe we do not have violent religions, only violent people. Islam doesn’t kill people. People kill people. I also challenge those in media, politics and fellow students to assess the facts before making public charges that serve to undermine or single out a particular group of people. That being said, I understand negative opinions and attitudes towards Islam given the political climate we live in today. The “bad apples”—or terrorists Driessen discussed—couldn’t be further from Islam and its doctrines. It is unfortunate that in the world today people feel justified in blaming a system of belief, held dearly by over a billion people, for the senseless acts of a few.

Driessen asks, “Why is it there is no Christianity-ophobia?” To that I say people of other faiths throughout the world do not categorize an entire group of people based on the acts of a few. Not all Christians were blamed for the shooting of planned parenthood in Colorado. Similarly, not all white people were blamed for the black church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. Why should Islam be treated so differently? If Driessen wishes to engage in honest and open conversation, he should do just that before making uniformed accusations against an entire religion.

Nour Saeed is a junior majoring in political science at UW-Madison. Do you agree that Islam's "flaws" are not Islamic at all? Please send all comments and concerns to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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