Islam is not a Religion of Extremism
Allah says:
"...Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed 
all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had 
saved the life of all mankind..." Qur'an 5:32
Islam... an extreme religion?
"Islamic terrorists!" "Muslim fundamentalists!" "Extremists!" "Radical 
Islamists!" These are just some labels that have been wrongly applied to 
Muslims and certain Muslim groups in recent years.
The media's portrayal of Islam often misleads those whose knowledge of the 
religion is limited, into making negative assumptions about this very peaceful 
and tolerant way of life.
Peter Manning, a journalist of over 30 years, states in his book, "Us and 
Them": "My experience tells me there's a vast gulf between the realities of the 
daily lives of Arab and Muslim Australians and how they are represented in our 
[Australian] media.
In more than 60 percent of cases [from the coverage of 2 major newspapers], the 
words 'violent', 'death', 'attack', 'kill', 'suicide' or 'gunmen' were in close 
proximity to the words 'Arab', 'Palestinian', 'Muslim' or 'Islam'. "
Is it then, any wonder that most people associate Islam with terrorism?
The problem of ignorance is highlighted by a survey which revealed that more 
than one in three Australians admit to knowing nothing about Islam and its 
"Those with the least knowledge and personal contact with Muslims were the most 
likely to feel threatened by Islam," said Dr Dunn, who was commissioned by the 
Australia-Indonesia Institute to carry out the study.
The prevalence of media bias and ignorance regarding Islam can be countered by 
understanding Islam through its proper teachings. That means referring to the 
Qur'an (which Muslims believe to be the word of God) and the authentic sayings 
of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Through the proper understanding 
of these teachings, one will discover Islam to be completely against any form 
of extremism.
How the Qur'an can be misunderstood
When reading through the Qur'an or the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon 
him), one must understand the context in which the wording applies. The 
following verse of the Qur'an is a favourite amongst those seeking to mislead 
people about Islam:
"And kill them wherever you find them, and expel them from where they expelled 
you, as persecuting people to sway them from God's Religion is worse than 
killing. But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you 
there. But if they do fight you, then slay them; This is the recompense of the 
disbelievers." Qur'an 2:191
On occasions, this verse has been dangerously trimmed down to the following:
"And kill them wherever you find them..." Qur'an 2:191
The obvious question is, "Kill who?". To answer this question, one should read 
the verses before and after verse 2:191.
"And fight in the way of Allah those who fight with you, and do not exceed the 
limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits." Qur'an 2:190
The above verse mentions fighting as a means of self defence (i.e. with those 
who fight you). The verse after 2:191 is:
"But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." Qur'an 2:192
These verses were revealed at a time when the Muslims had been expelled from 
their homes on account of their faith. They endured more than ten years of 
persecution and eventually had to flee to a safe land.
The above verses were referring to the Arab pagans of Mecca during the 
Prophet's time, who oppressed the Muslims and planned to attack them where the 
Muslims sought refuge.
Hence, the above verse can only be applied in such circumstances.
This example demonstrates that verses in the Qur'an should be understood in 
their proper context since verses were revealed in stages in relation to 
particular situations, over a period of 23 years. It is also important to note 
that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic. Therefore, translations into different 
languages may be misleading and/or inaccurate.
Permissible Warfare/Fighting
There can be no doubt that Muslims (like anybody else) have a legitimate right 
to fight against aggression or when oppressed.
Islam teaches that warfare is permitted in order to preserve the wellbeing of 
the community or to prevent oppression from spreading - this may be in the 
context of defensive or offensive warfare depending on the particular 
situation. Islam, just like any 'way of life' that wants to ensure its 
survival, has the right to defend itself when war is declared against it. In 
the Qur'an (22:39) we read:
"To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, because they 
are wronged."
However, when the enemy ceases its hostility, Muslims are commanded to cease 
"And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in God; surely He 
is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower." Qur'an 8:61
Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him), Prophet Mohammad's closest friend and 
first successor, spoke of the Islamic approach to war by highlighting the 
In the battlefield, one should not:
commit treachery
mutilate the dead
deviate from the right path
kill a woman, child or aged man
harm or burn trees, especially the fruitful
slay the enemy's flock, except for food
harm those who devote their life to worship
As we read in verse 2:190, Allah commands Muslims not to go to extremes by 
saying, "Do not transgress the limits." A situation of war is no excuse to go 
beyond boundaries. Islam teaches the avoidance of blind retaliation.
"And let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is 
nearer to righteousness." Qur'an 5:8
Terrosim in perspective
The problem with putting terrorism into perspective is that there is no 
agreed-upon definition of what constitutes "terrorism". Also, terrorism takes 
many forms, as the following examples illustrate.
Robert Fisk, from The Independent, writes: "Israel and Israel's militia allies 
(on 16 September 1982) started their three-day orgy of rape, knifing and murder 
in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila that cost 1,800 lives. It 
followed an Israeli invasion of Lebanon designed to drive the PLO (Palestine 
Liberation Organisation) out of the country and given the green light [by the 
United States] which cost the lives of 17,500 Lebanese and Palestinians, almost 
all of them civilians."
According to Professor Noam Chomsky, "It's uncontroversial that the United 
States is a leading terrorist state. In fact, it's the only state that was 
condemned for international terrorism by the highest bodies: the International 
Court of Justice in 1986."
Similarly, "The horrific massacre of 8,000 Muslims - some unarmed - at 
Srebrenica in 1995 never led to a stream of pieces about the violence and 
repressive tendencies of Christianity." - William Dalrymple, The Independent UK.
"The carnage wrought by Western, ostensibly Christian, leaders over the last 
six decades - including a world war and a cold war, a Holocaust, two atomic 
bombs, repression of wars of independence, the fuelling of proxy wars, nuclear 
brinksmanship, and the support of dictators and state and non-state terrorists 
- makes it spurious to view Islam as a more inherently violent religion or 
civilisation." - Rama Mani (Geneva Centre for Security Policy)
There are many other examples of both Jewish and Christian terrorism, however, 
we must never generalise and call all Christians and Jews terrorists. 
Similarly, we should not put all Muslims on trial but only those that committed 
the crime should be judged.
Islam Denounces Terrorism
The act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenceless civilians, the 
wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of 
innocent men, women and children are all forbidden and detestable acts 
according to Islam and the Muslims. This is regardless of any type of 
terrorism, including western state-sponsored terrorism which has killed, 
injured and displaced infinitely more people than all other types of terrorism.
If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would 
be guilty of violating the laws of the very religion they claim to follow - 
Islam. Would it be fair to condemn all Muslims as a result, when the religion 
itself is against such acts? Muslims follow a religion of submission to God, 
peace, mercy, and forgiveness. The vast majority have nothing to do with the 
violent events some - notably the media - have associated with Muslims. Islam 
is not a religion of extremism.
"Allah does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those 
who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your 
homes. Allah loves those who are just." Qur'an 60:8

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