It certainly would be convenient for Pitts for a Bible-quoting Christian terrorist to emerge, to balance out the hundreds of Qur’an-quoting Islamic terrorists (click on the links below). If one ever did emerge, we’d never heard the end of it — but until then, old Tim McVeigh, an atheist anarchist to all appearances, will have to keep on being dragged out to serve this purpose “Pop quiz | Bible or Quran: which is the violent book?,” by Leonard Pitts Jr. in the Pioneer Press, March 28 (thanks to all who sent this in):
OK, put your books away. We’re having a pop quiz.
Below are four quotes. Each is from one of two sources: the Bible or the Quran, although, just to make things interesting, there’s also a chance all four are from one book. Two were edited for length and one of those was also edited to remove a religion-specific reference. Your job: identify the holy book of origin. Ready? Go:
# “…Wherever you encounter (non-believers), kill them, seize them, besiege them, wait for them at every lookout post …”
# “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
# “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ … do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death.”
# Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”
All right, pens down. How did you do?
If you identified the first quote as being from the Quran (9:5) and the other three as originating in the Bible (Matthew 10:34, Deuteronomy 13:6-9, Numbers 31:17-18), I congratulate you on that degree in theology. If I have guessed correctly, most people will not have found it easy to place the quotes in their proper books. If I have guessed correctly, most people will have found a certain thematic similarity in them.
Yes, there is a point here: I wish people would stop cherry-picking warlike quotes from the Quran to “prove” the evil of Islam. You see this stuff all over the web. Just a few days ago, some anonymous person, angry with me for defending “Fascist/Nazi Islam” the writer says is trying to kill us all, sent me an email quoting Quranic exhortations to violence to prove that Islam is a “religion of hate and murder.”
I, too, wish that people would stop cherry-picking warlike quotes from the Qur’an — people like bin Laden, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Feisal Shahzad, and Abdulhakim Muhammad, Khalid Aldawsari, Baitullah Mehsud, and Roshonara Choudhry. If Muslims like that would stop quoting the Qur’an and Islamic teachings to justify violence against unbelievers, I promise to stop pointing out that they’re doing so.
As rhetorical devices go, it is a cheap parlor trick, a con job to fool the foolish and gull the gullible and for anyone who has spent quality time with the Bible, its shortcomings should be obvious.
If not, see the pop quiz again. The Quran is hardly unique in its admonitions to take up the sword.
It is not my intention here to parse any of those troubling quotes. Let us leave it to religious scholars to contextualize them, to explain how they square with the contention that Islam and Christianity are religions of peace. For our purposes, it is sufficient to note that, while both Christian and Muslim scholars will offer that context and explanation, only Christians can be assured of being taken at their word when they do.
It also may help, Mr. Pitts, that there are no Christians committing or advocating violence by reference to those Biblical verses today, but an abundance of Muslims worldwide committing and advocating violence by reference to Qur’an verses.
Christians get the benefit of the doubt. Muslims get Glenn Beck asking a Muslim congressman to “prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”
Because Christianity is regarded as a known “” and a norm. Muslims, meantime, have been drafted since Sept. 11, 2001, to fulfill the nation’s obsessive, historic, paranoiac and ongoing need to rally against an enemy within. We lost the Commies, but along came the Islamofascists. The names change. The endless capacity for irrational panic remains the same.
Is it really irrational to be concerned about what motivated Muslims like Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Texas; Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland; Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihad mass-murderer; Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber; and so many other jihad murderers and would-be murderers? Is it really irrational to wonder if there’s something about Islam when all of them and more point to Islamic texts and teachings to justify their attacks and plots?
As in people who send out emails insisting upon the rightness of holding over a billion people “” that bears repeating: “over a billion people” “” responsible for the actions of, what …? A few hundred? A few thousand?…
Pitts is here retailing common Islamic supremacist talking points — that the idea of “collective responsibility” is wrong, and that Muslims as a whole cannot and must not be made to bear any kind of responsibility for jihad attacks by other Muslims. In reality, no one with any sense is blaming all Muslims for anything that any individual Muslim has done; the problem lies in the Islamic texts and teachings that are used to justify such acts of violence. There is ample justification in the Qur’an, which calls upon Muslims to fight Christians until they “feel themselves subdued” (9:29), and the Sunnah, in which Muhammad tells his followers to offer non-Muslims conversion or subjugation, and to go to war with them if they refuse both, for jihad attacks. Muslims who oppose such attacks need ultimately to confront the existence of these Islamic teachings and work honestly to blunt their force, but non-Muslims need make no apology for recognizing that this is not being done within the Muslim community now, and making a realistic appraisal accordingly, and taking what steps must be taken to defend themselves and their way of life.