Meanwhile, Let’s See What the Religion of Peace Is Doing
The Religion of Peace I speak of is, of course, Islam, which clerics and adherents at press conferences the world over keep insisting is based on tolerance and respect. That happy picture changes, however, when we begin talking about Sharia, a body of Islamic laws based on the Koran. It is under Sharia that Abdul Rahman faces execution in Afghanistan for converting from Islam to Christianity.
His trial has fired passions in this conservative Muslim nation and highlighted a conflict of values between Afghanistan and its Western backers.
“Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die,” said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001.
About two years ago, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah addressed a conference on Islam and terrorism during which he touched upon what the rest of the world thinks of the faith he embraces.
“Islam condemns all forms of terrorism and we must strive to correct wrong perceptions about our religion,” he said. “This is my vision.”
Abdullah’s vision ensures failure in combating terrorism because it focuses on changing perceptions by non-Muslims rather than changing the behavior of Muslims. The case of Abdul Rahman may be getting lots of international media attention at the moment, but it is hardly the only instance of violent radicalism going on in the Islamic world. Others not reported in the major media can be found at any given time on web sites like Religion of Peace and Jihad Watch.
The conflict here is between what Muslims say and what they do. There are a few Muslims taking action to wrest their religion away from jihadist domination, and many others support the effort in their daily lives by refusing to participate in intolerant communities and by raising their children to be more tolerant. But to be successful, they need a majority of their brothers and sisters in the faith to join them. Right now, that isn’t happening.