Converting to Islam today

By Alison Lake This essay is the second in a series about religious conversion. Click here to read Alison’s first … Continued

By Alison Lake

This essay is the second in a series about religious conversion. Click here to read Alison’s first essay about leaving Catholicism for Islam. If you’d like to submit your story of religious conversion, email onfaith@washingtonpost.com.

This is a difficult time to be a convert to Islam. We all know how 9/11 changed the political and social landscape in America, and brought Muslims to the forefront of media coverage. Unfortunately one brand of Islam has been portrayed the most: a brand that does not adhere to the religion’s true tenets. Murder, torture, suicide bombings, plane hijackings, child brides, honor killings, and subjugation of women are not Quranic teachings. They are cultural distortions of Islam. When religion and culture intertwine, they can become mutually indistinguishable and sometimes reinforce harmful practices.

As a Muslim in the West, especially a convert, one has to constantly explain that true Islam does not condone terrorism and murder. I feel depressed when I see evidence of how some ‘Muslims’ continue to misuse and misinterpret their religion in the ways just mentioned. There are too many instances around the world of governments and individuals abusing the rights of humans under the banner of religion, politics, or you name it. The actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan are current examples of how ideology and a desire for power drive people to commit horrible crimes.

Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and many copycats have perpetuated the fallacy that Islam equals violence. And many believe that the Quran, Islam’s holy book, is the source of this violence. The Quran’s “Verse of the Sword” is hotly debated as to whether it encourages self-defense in a time of persecution by non-believers, or if it commands the pursuit and murder of all non-believers. Regardless of the verse’s original intent and historical context, it has unfortunately incited many so-called Muslims to violence.

We know that over the centuries the Christian (mostly Catholic) church was also guilty of violence, persecution, and prejudice, and was more recently embroiled in the twisted dysfunction of its pedophile priests. Furthermore, such practices as stoning and subjugation of women are mentioned many times in Christian and Judaic texts. There is much to be ashamed of in human history.

But Muslims today must address this very-present and tragic problem of violence, and campaign to influence governments and communities to condemn and eliminate such practices. The better we recognize the sources of violent behavior, be they economic, cultural, or historical, the better to address those problems. Governments as well as community leaders are the first source of change in many countries where traditions are difficult to break, dictators prevail, and economic distress is entrenched.

However, in Western media, the labeling of such adherents as “Islamic extremists” is inaccurate and misleading. Extremism is based on misinterpretation of Islam and the Quran, and does not occupy a legitimate space in the spectrum of Islam. Perhaps we should call these terrorists “jihadists,” as these individuals misinterpret the word jihad as an excuse to kill people, when it broadly means “struggle” rather than offensive warfare against non-believers. Each Muslim struggles every day to adhere to the pillars of the faith, and this is jihad.

There is much to admire in Islam, and Muslims should educate non-Muslims, as well as their own brothers and sisters in the faith, on the religion’s nuances. There is a rich field for debate on subjects such as the meanings of the Quran, the implications of Prophet Muhammad’s life practices today, the behavior of men and women in the public sphere, and what Islam shares in common with other religions. Islam is also in dire need of a better public relations campaign around the world, particularly in the West.

Islamic civilization was born in the Middle East but also has deep historical roots in India, Iran, central Asia, and Africa. Western textbooks and histories previously ignored Islamic civilization’s rich history, which is slowly becoming more accepted in the European/American worldview. While Europe was in the bubonic depths of the Dark Ages, Islamic civilization produced great thinkers, writers, and inventors. Baghdad and Damascus were bustling, advanced centers of learning and commerce. Arab scholars (many of them Muslim) helped to launch the Renaissance in Europe with their scientific advances and translations of ancient texts for wider consumption.

Islam also shares many points in common with the histories of Judaism and Christianity, based on scriptures and the tradition of such prophets as Abraham, Moses, and Noah. This commonality in the Abrahamic faith tradition is a helpful foundation for interfaith studies, and for pursuit of greater understanding of Islam by non-Muslims. There are too many Muslims worldwide to ignore — more than 1.5 billion. Hopefully more non-Muslims will take time to understand this religion and its people, and try to look beyond the crimes of terrorists and the stereotypes perpetuated in the media and in Western culture.

Alison Lake is a staff writer at The Washington Post and former editor of Islamic publications for a D.C.-area think tank.

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  • rentianxiang

    Who are you to say what is true Islam or what is a legitimate interpretation of Islam? Are there different “brands” of Islam or is there just one Islam and different Mulsims just choose which aspects of the religion to focus on? “Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and many copycats have perpetuated the fallacy that Islam equals violence. And many believe that the Quran, Islam’s holy book, is the source of this violence.”Few would say that Islam equals violence, even many such as myself that find the religion dangerous and repulsive. However, equally as false is the assertion that Islam equals peace. Islam equals submission or surrender. And for the claim that many find the Quran to be the source of violence, count me in as one of them. It is book full of contradictions and inconsistencies but the overarching theme throughout is “Muslim is good and non-Muslim is bad” and it is okay to use violence if it is in the interest of Islam. Compare the history to Catholics if you wish, but that only serves to say that both relgions have a violent history. Even more problematic are the hadith and the sira where there are many instances demonstrating that Mohammed interpreted the messages from Allah to condone and even obligate violence against the non-believer, and this included terrorist attacks such as targeted assassinations of such dangerous folks as poets who made fun of him.And where would people get the idea Islam condones child brides? Perhaps the fact that Mohammed married Aisha when she was six and consummated the union when she was nine. Where would we get the idea that the Quran and the hadith encourages subjugation of women? Read al Nisa! How valuable is the testimony of a woman? What happens if a women decides to defy her husband? Is a wife merely a tilth for the husband? Cultural distortions of Islam? Please! If you can’t be honest about the very real and substantial problems of Islam itself and want to pretend that those verses and events in Islamic history don’t exist, then there is no reason to take you seriously. The fact is the Quran is a very flawed book and Muslims need to take a hard look at the principles in Islam that are at odds with modern and moral society that has progressed out of the Iron Age. And, by the way, the outreach and public relations to convince people that there are nice things about Islam does not need to speak to the non-Muslim world at all. Every cent of funds and second of time that you have should be spent convincing your fellow Muslims that terrorism, suicide bombing, torture, mistreatment of women, child brides, honor killing, and the unequal treatment of non-Muslims are evils that must be eradicated. I can guarantee that if Muslims stopped their violent and intolerant and intimidating behavior, non-Muslims would stop associating Islam with violence.

  • devluddite

    Muslims riot and murder in the thousands when a Danish newspaper publishes some cartoons, Muslims do nothing when their coreligionists slaughter thousands of Non believers.

  • sudmuf

    Islam is NOT a religion. It was started by the thug Mohammed, may his soul rot in hell for all eternity. It is a totalitarian political ideology. It’s also a 1500 yr. old cult. Those who aren’t “true believers” are either killed or enslaved.The ONLY answer to jihad is crusade. The sooner the scourge of islam is removed from the planet the better off we will all be.

  • kaokaousa

    Ms. Lake,

  • SameOldTiredThinking

    I’m sorry, this lady is not reading the Koran, wherein conversion by the sword is very much advocated.I read this article and was just amazed at the real threat Islam poses to all of us:”When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions ( Paris –car-burnings). Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats ( Amsterdam – Mohammed cartoons).Guyana — Muslim 10%After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning:At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare:Bosnia — Muslim 40%From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels:Albania — Muslim 70%After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide:Bangladesh — Muslim 83%100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace — there’s supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim:Afghanistan — Muslim 100%Of course, that’s not the case. To satisfy their blood lust, Muslims then start killing each other for a variety of reasons.’Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world and all of us against the infidel. – Leon Uris, ‘The Haj’It is good to remember that in many, many countries, such as France, the Muslim populations are centered around ghettos based on their ethnicity. Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. Therefore, they exercise more power than their national average would indicate.”This is truly scary, and no amount of equivocating or wishful thinking is going to change any of it.

  • abrahamhab1

    “Murder, torture, suicide bombings, plane hijackings, child brides, honor killings, and subjugation of women are not Quranic teachings.”Below are my comments:C. Child brides: The Quran stipulates that Muslims should emulate their prophet.D. Honor Killings: The prophet ordered the murder of Asma bint Marwan simply for writing a verse he did not like.E. Subjugation of women; The fact that men are allowed to marry four wives at one time as well as keep an unlimited number of concubines, and that a man can divorce any one or permutation of wives by simply delegating someone to inform them of the deal should give an idea of the place of women in that religion.

  • AKafir

    Allison,You have my sympathies. It took a long time for me to shed the hold of the evil of Islam, and you willingly assumed it for yourself. I wish you the best and truly hope your daughters do not have to live through the burden that your new religion imposes on young girls.

  • Navin1

    SameoldtiredthinkingWow. Now that is a nice study. Should be published in sociology of religion textbooks. What do you know, science supports what intuition teaches everyone but the muslim.Thanks for the analysis.hariaum

  • Navin1

    Of course we also neglect that leaving islam is a sin for god will hate you forever. Nice ideology to convert to. I suppose if you are a depressed / oppressed infidel, you may be able to rationalize why you would convert to believe in a god with so much hate.hariaum

  • halozcel1

    Dear Alison Lake,You say *Extremism/Muslim Terror is based on Misinterpretation of Islam* This is an Insult to Muslims.Dear Lake,

  • Athena4

    I respect anyone’s right to worship the Deity/ies of their choice. But why on Earth would a modern, American woman join a religion that treats her as being lower in value than a camel? I mean, why not just move in with Chris Brown or Mel Gibson for the sheer joy of getting abused? Yes, I know that all Muslims aren’t out to kill us. Some of them may even have enlightened notions about women’s rights. They may have even come out of the Eighteenth Century. I knew a young woman in college who was a member of the Nation of Islam. She wore the full veil and everything, except in the dorms where you had all women. She eventually gave it up. Or at least wearing the full veil.

  • jm125

    Ms Lake, since anyone who can read and count knows that muslims commit more terrorist attacks than EVERYONE ELSE combined, I figured importing islam into the US was a bad idea. Although I know most muslims are not terrorist, most terrorist are muslims. After all, muslims blow people up every day, usually other muslims and I didn’t have to go shoeless at airports and have a 3 oz carry on limit before the religion of peace made it’s US debut. However, this cordoba mosque shows promise for enlightenment. Course 1) The Honor in Honor KillingCourse 2) Fifty Ways to Lose Your LoverCourse 3) How to Win the Hearts and Bodies of little boys and girls.

  • mharper111

    Ms. Lake… You go to great lengths describing the many unsavory things you allege Islam is not, but nowhere do you put forth any argument as to the merits of your newly chosen faith. I submit the reason is because Islam has no merits, save for those plagiarized from earlier texts. Some of your statements lead me to believe you’re more than a tad naive. When you write: “Islamic civilization was born in the Middle East but also has deep historical roots in India, Iran, central Asia, and Africa” — do you not realize that those “roots” came in the form of massive and bloody forced conversions in those countries named? India especially represents one of the worst genocides in history — and that’s saying something. You also write, as if it is some kind of huge revelation: “Islam also shares many points in common with the histories of Judaism and Christianity…” Ya think? Could it be that Muhammad, the world’s most extreme Narcicist ever, believed he could trump Judaism and Christianity simply by folding them into the insane rantings called the Koran?I used to think the problem was “extremists”. Now I know the problem is Islam, the most hate-filled “religion” ever dreamed up by man. It’s far too easy, upon reading the Koran,to believe it’s your duty as a Muslim to assist Allah in sending unbelievers to their ultimate fate of burning in hell. Islam, I’m sorry to say, is a cancer. Please get well.

  • gravitysucks

    More perpetuating of the ” myths of Islam”. I’m sorry but there are no flavors, degrees, or versions of Islam. There is no middle ground. Islam is by the book, all or nothing. If you truly converted to Islam as you imply then you obviously based your decision on “the Idiot’s Guide To Islam” English version.

  • Ayaz_iqbal

    It would seem the anti-islamic mechanism of lies is in full flow.Those of you who say most terrorists are muslims, I couldn’t disagree more. The American military have caused more terror around the world in recent history than any other single group of people. Check out the crippling sanctions on Iraq which killed half a million children before the invasion of Iraq. Take a look at the Hindu, Maoist extremists causing terror in India which Dwarfs anything the muslims are doing. Take a look at the state sponsored terrorism caused by israel over the last 30 years. Look at what the Americans did in Vietnam, again the figure of murders at their hands was almost 50 times more the number who died before the invasion. Look at the destruction of Japan even before USA used nuclear weapons. On top of that the chemical weapons used in Falluja by the USA. I am sorry but terrorist activities in our life time have mostly been carried out by the non-muslims. Please dont get confused. Equally I do not support the relatively few terrorist activities carried out by the so called “muslims” either. But the western world have far more blood on their hands when it comes to terrorist activity. In terms of Women converting to Islam. Please learn about the religion before you comment. You will find out that women were given the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to retain her own money (Men must use their money to support the family, If women work they have the right to keep their money to themselves) and the right to inheritance, all these was given to women through Islam over 1400 years ago, compare this to the western world, who only recently got these rights in the last 100 years. Women are respected in Islam rather than objectified. They are honored rather than used and they are protected rather than tested.To the western world, I ask you to stop oppressing your women and start to honour, respect and look after your women. There is a saying in Islam that the best of men are those who are good to their wives. No wonder so many women are converting to islam despite the west’s best efforts to inflame anti-islamic sentiment.To those of you being influenced by the media please think again. I think it has been established that the powerful western world are using the media to propogate lies against the religion of God. I invite you all to this religion and become muslim, or at least make your choices based on truth. Go to a local mosque and find out the truth about islam, cos you aint getting it from the media…………

  • roxn

    I suppose it would not be too difficult if you shut everything out ~ you could follow a religion like Islam. But to expect others to do the same ~ that is where the difficulty would come. You would have to deal with issues such as Islam’s origin ~ why they came after Salman Rushdie ~ the Three Daughters of Allah stuff. ~ Koran 53:19Then there is also the issue of human rights ~ Koran 9:29 ~ specifically calls for the subjugation of non-Muslims ~ it might follow that after you read this verse ~ you try to convert your friends and family ~ to ensure they will get full rights under the law in this new Islamic state you and others are going to try to create.People want equal rights ~ so opposition to 2nd class citizenship under Islamic rule ~ would be a hard one to put across ~ you would have to call opponents, Islamophobic ~ to build support based on your victimization, and create pressure to encourage the opposition to see the sense of living like the non-Mulsims ~ Copts, Hindus, Baha’i and others do today in the Islamic world ~ as Dhimmis [a special 2nd class status]. Anyway as one who submits ~ you probably submitted to their will and read what they told you to read about Islam ~ they would have told you about Dhimmi laws ~ later. Okay ~ we are in Dar al Harb ~ the realm of war, until it becomes the ‘conquered land’ or realm of peace or Dar al-Islam!! All searchable stuff!! Start here:

  • jm125

    Ayaz_iqbal, I do not go to muslim countries let alone go there and try to impose my culture on them. Practicing muslims just don’t belong here and they are always free to leave or not come to the US at all. Since your post shows you are incapable of logic and you reason at a sub third world level, why don’t you live somewhere else and we can just agree to disagree. You will not see me around.

  • abrahamhab1

    Iqbal pontificates thus:How? By mutilating their sex organs or by placing them under a black tent and then cutting her nose and ears for leaving the house without her husband’s permission? Or by keeping four so-called wives in the same house and divorcing them for any or no reason. Man get real! And thus; We did and we saw and here is a sample of what we saw. Nothing close to spirituality, but sedition and incitement against those who do not share your interpretation of your cult.

  • parlay1

    You people don’t even take time to read her points. Everything you accuse of Muslims she notes that is not real Islam but cultural. If you are going to comment at least show that you intelligently read the article and have any knowledge of Islam. You are mindlessly parroting what the media tells you. Christians and Jews and Muslims, in addition to all of humanity, have practiced war from time immemorial. The Quran acknowledges this by laying out the rules of warfare. And people, separate the difference between the Quran and the person Mohammed. Not all the hadiths you quote are legitimate. And you can hardly blame all the violence around the world on Muslims. It’s unfortunately a human trait to kill and persecute. This doesn’t mean that Islam is out to subjugate everyone and then everybody else is innocent. And stop attacking an intelligent woman and calling her naive. You are the sexist ones.

  • kanishka1

    Spiritually speaking, what YOGA is to Hinduism and Buddhism, violent JEHAD is to Islam.If Islam is a religion of peace then Buddhism is what? a religion of terror and Dalai Lama, a terrorist? 🙂

  • kanishka1

    Spiritually speaking, what YOGA is to Hinduism and Buddhism, Jehad is to Islam.

  • kanishka1

    Dear readers please read,”LETTER FROM LONDON: Demons from the past —Irfan Husain” and know the true nature of Islam as practiced in India since early 7th century.Thanks

  • kanishka1

    In his Story of Civilization, Will Durant writes: “The Mohammedan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest in history”.

  • Afraid4USA

    I cannot believe that any rational woman with knowledge of the tenets of Islam would convert to this religion. I wish you had read the Koran before you decided you wanted to convert. Read the portions of the Koran that call for a woman to be “immured” (i.e., enclosed in a bricked in space with no air) if she commits adultery. I know the Old Testament has some pretty gruesome stuff in it, but the OT was written thousands of years ago and no one is following the punitive and barbaric prescriptions contained in it. The Koran was written in the 600’s and the Sharia law embodied in it is still being practiced. In fact, true Muslims do not believe in and cannot conceive of any secular state, they want a restoration of the Caliphate with Sharia law imposed. Neither do they practice the tolerance they demand of others. For all the brou-haha about the WTC mosque, people forget that it would be impossible for a Christian to build a church in most moslem countries. Look what the Taliban just did to the Christian medical workers. They were not proseletyzing, but they are dangerous to devout muslims because their example of charity to non-Christians makes muslims curious about Christianity. Islam isn’t the religion of peace, it’s the religion of surrender-surrender your logic. I hope you get your brain back.

  • Afraid4USA

    To the people claiming that Moslem women were given many political and family rights before Christian women were, let me ask the following:1. Not only can Saudi women not vote, they can’t even drive.2. A man can divorce his wife but just staying “I divorce you” three times. 3. Polygamy-I need say no more. 4. Alleged protection and respect for women-Is it respectful to women to not allow them to exit with house without a bag over her head and a male relative?5. Disproportionate punishment for the same crimes. In a recent case in Afghanistan, a widow in her forties was executed for adultery. Her partner was not because Moslem men are executed for adultery only if they are married.

  • KaddafiDelendaEst

    HA! Think it’s tough reverting to Islam? Try leaving it!Here are stories of people who have become disillusioned with Islam and have left it. Naturally their ID has been kept in secret and in some cases I have changed the names. This is necessary to protect them from becoming the target of Islamic persecution. The penalty of apostasy in Islam is death. For those interesting in safely leaving Islam, there is help @Don’t even consider submiting to Islam, if you want your children free to choose their own faith. They will be forever enslaved to jihadism by your foolish choice.

  • ThomasBaum

    mharper111 You wrote, “Now I know the problem is Islam, the most hate-filled “religion” ever dreamed up by man.”Actually, this is not true, the god of islam is satan.This “religion” was not dreamed up by man.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    Ayaz_iqbalYou wrote, “I think it has been established that the powerful western world are using the media to propogate lies against the religion of God.”I have met God and God Is a Trinity and since the god of islam gets “bent out of shape” if anyone says that God Is a Trinity, then it is clearly a “fact” that the god of islam is satan.Doesn’t the god of islam get very perturbed if anyone calls themself a “child of God”?Isn’t islam based on submission rather than Love? Power over creation, rather than caring for His creation?Neither Judaism nor Christianity are “religions”, they are both covenantal relationships with God, one between God and a People, the Chosen People, and one between God and a person, collectively known as Jesus’s Church, instituted by God-Incarnate, Jesus.Is reporting a terrorist act, any terrorist act, propogating “lies”?There is no need to worry, the True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God has a Plan and has had His Plan since before creation and God’s Plan is, ultimately, for ALL to be in God’s Kingdom and as God-Incarnate, Jesus, said, “My Kingdom is not of this world”.The god of islam’s “religion” is about world domination, it should be pretty obvious by now, but as the Triune God said, “I Will Declare VICTORY in favor of the Holy Ones”, not a tie, not a truce, but a VICTORY.God’s Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth, will arrive with the dawning of the seventh day but the night of the sixth day shall precede it.Ignoring “reality” does not change the “facts of reality”.And as I have say before, God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof and It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ambergris1851

    PLEASE READ THIS.As a country, we are at war with millions of Muslims.The nature of war is that it necessitates de-humanization and demonization. You cannot pull a trigger and blow-up someone that you view as an equal, as a human being, worthy of dignity and life. It happened in Nazi Germany. It happened in Japan. It happened in Soviet Russia.As a country, we are ideologically, politically, and economically invested in perpetuating this de-humanization, just as much as al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are equally invested in de-humanizing us.De-humanization is necessary for war, and war is good for business.All those anti-Islam books written by “experts” (just because they’ve read the Qur’an once or twice in English translation), all those anti-Islam blogs, all these commentators who troll websites and post comments about Muslims that sound as if they would be perfectly willing to lob a nuclear bomb into Iran or Pakistan and kill tens of millions of Muslims without shedding a tear…. For example, @ sudmuf… “The ONLY answer to jihad is crusade. The sooner the scourge of islam is removed from the planet the better off we will all be.”THESE are the spokes in the wheels of war.The greatest suffering in the 20th and 21st centuries was not inflicted by Muslims or Muslim governments. Yes, they are responsible for some nasty things. But their crimes PALE in comparison to the crimes committed by Nazi Germany, fascist Japan, America in Vietnam and Cambodia, colonial Britain… the list goes on.And @sameoldtiredthinking…. Where did you find this shiite article? Do you know ANYTHING about history? Is INDONESIA really your idea of a genocidal state?Honestly, most o the commenters here are so mired in their own blind bias that they won’t be convinced. I have a proposal…. Go get to know a Muslim. Invite him/her to coffee. Put a human face to this religion. Learn to understand that Muslim are – like all of us – complicated, sometimes contradictory people who have complex histories and politics and cannot be reduced to the Qur’an. Muslims do not “blindly” follow the Qur’an any more than most Christians “blindly” follow the Bible or Jews “blindly” follow the Torah.Think about it….

  • anjumvaseem

    By reading the comments, one can realize the extent of damage done by the Western media and pseudo-Muslims (Al Qaeda, Taliban etc) to Islam’s image. This is really appalling! If you read the full Quran, it is not difficult to get this idea in a summary :

  • sinz52

    To begin with, Ms. Lake contradicts herself about the tenets of Islam. First she says, “one has to constantly explain that true Islam does not condone terrorism and murder.” But later she says, “The Quran’s ‘Verse of the Sword’ is hotly debated as to whether it encourages self-defense in a time of persecution by non-believers, or if it commands the pursuit and murder of all non-believers.”Is this not a contradiction? If the Quran’s verses on violent jihad are still a subject for “hot debate,” then how can Ms. Lake be so sure that they don’t command violence? Evidently she is taking one side in that debate–but there is another side, a side which is quite frankly dangerous to Western civilization.Finally, Ms. Lake employs the classic “tu quoque” fallacy, claiming that Christianity was also guilty of some horrible crimes. Evidently when she was a little girl, her parents didn’t teach her that “Aw, the other kids are doing it too” is not an excuse.But beyond that, Christianity has mellowed and matured over the centuries. The Crusades and the Conquistadores and the Spanish Inquisition are long gone. Even the “Troubles” of Northern Ireland seem to have settled down since the 1998 accords. Today, no mass violence is being carried out in the name of Christianity anywhere in the world.Whereas the September 11 terrorist attack took place only 9 years ago; the massacre of schoolchildren in Beslan Russia took place only 6 years ago; and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai India took place less than 2 years ago. All plotted and carried out by violent Islamists.And Western governments keep having to break up one Islamist terrorist plot after another, all aimed at terrorizing Western peoples and subverting Western societies.So maybe in another few centuries, Islam will have matured beyond violent jihad, just as Christianity has matured since the Inquisition. But right now, there are still plenty of Muslims who wage it, or who openly admire those who do.

  • anjumvaseem

    If you read the Quran, please look at the context. Many verses where Muslims are asked to fight only apply to the circumstances that existed then and which may not be applied today. Muslims are urged to be patient and forgiving many more times than they are asked to fight against the non-believers. The fighting is the last resort to defend. All Muslims do jihad, and today my jihad in this month of Ramadhan is to resist all that is negative like backbiting, fighting, arguing, etc. I am hungry and this reminds me everytime I face a situation like this that I am fasting and I will not be dragged into something that will break my fast.