I am reminded of this story by an encounter with a pastor in an Anglican church in Europe recently, who commented that ISIS and all their barbarity were “such a distortion of true Islam.”
I must have raised an eyebrow, for he went on: “You know, the Koran says to protect the People of the Book.”
“Those are the Meccan verses,” I countered. “In Medina, Mohammad preached violence and conquest.”
“You must read the Koran in its entirety,” he said. “It’s like the Bible: you can’t just take things out of context.”
I was floored by that statement, and not wanting to get into an argument in Church, I left it there. So instead, I am writing this column.
No, He should have countered his false narrative…
Anyone who wants to really know and understand about Islam, should read it in its chronological form, and with a healthy understanding of Koranic abrogation. That which came during the Medina period nullifies/supersedes the early non-violent (Meccan) portion of the koran, with intolerant, violence passages that are valid from the time they fell from Mohamed’s mouth until today.
MOSUL AND THE TRUE FACE OF ISLAM
Those pesky verses of abrogation that just won’t go away.
I have lived and worked in the Muslim Middle East for the past thirty-five years, and have many dear friends who are Muslims. Most recently, I prayed with a 38-year old Muslim man in the ruins of his house in the old city of Mosul, as he told me his story of surviving the ISIS occupation.
I stumbled upon Azam Nejim Abdallah by accident, while inspecting the devastation wrought upon the magnificent 4th and 5th century churches of West Mosul with an Iraqi police brigadier general and activists from the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, a local group dedicated to protecting Iraqi minorities.
Azam and an older neighbor, Abu Ibrahim Mohsen, were among the hardy few who had returned to the ruins and were attempting to rebuild. Their problem on this particular day was that they had no water, and no electricity. “People just three blocks down the street have water,” they complained to the brigadier general. Why not us?”
To us, the answer was obvious. The fact that Azam and his neighbors were alive was nothing short of miraculous. One neighbor’s house was just a pile of rubble. Bomb squads were still combing through the neighborhood, more than a year after the liberation, for ISIS booby-traps and unexploded ordinance. There was not a single house left standing in the neighborhood. Water? Electricity? Really?