The So-Called “Islamic State” Is Not “Islam”

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It’s bad enough to speak of Muslims as if they all were terrorists.

But isn’t it even worse to call terrorists and terrorist organizations “Islam”? Even if they call themselves Islamic. Especially then!

"Islamic State" is not Islam

Inflammatory references of just this kind are creeping into popular speech. They pop up in unguarded, off-the-cuff comments — the kind that disclose our real thoughts and feelings.

A blogger friend just wrote about recent public statements by Pope Francis. The blog article struck me as fair and even-handed. According to it, the Pope called for religious tolerance and, in particular, for greater dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

He also said military action is necessary in resisting aggression by the “self-styled ‘Islamic State'” (ISIS — the acronym for “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”).

So far, so good. But in promoting his blog post on social media, my friend describes the Pope’s remarks as a “justification of violence toward Islam”. Note that telltale word “Islam”, which he’s using interchangeably with ISIS.

To my fellow-blogger I wrote in response:

The headline implies that [the Pope is] in some way “justifying … violence toward Islam”. But I don’t see anything in your article to support such a conclusion. On the contrary, you’ve got the Pope calling for “greater dialogue among Christians, Muslims and people of all faiths”, with a view to ending fundamentalism. A call for greater dialogue isn’t a call for violence.

The headline apparently refers to the Pope’s saying military force is justified in halting the “self-styled ‘Islamic State'”. These are your quotes here around “Islamic State”; your use of the word “self-styled”. There, you are exactly right! There’s nothing vaguely Islamic about the so-called “Islamic State” — just as there’s nothing Christian about the American Ku Klux Klan or other self-styled “Christian” organizations that burn crosses and wave Bibles while defiling everything for which the Founder of Christianity gave His life.

The practices and beliefs of the terrorists who call themselves “Islamic State” are in no way consistent with scriptural Islam. By “scriptural” I mean the writings and recorded sayings of the prophet Muhammad including the Qur’an — the book all devout Muslims consider the Word of God. The King of Jordan got it right in a recent “60 Minutes” interview, when he said it’s wrong to label these heretics “Islamic” while they’ violate the laws, and blaspheme the sacred beliefs, of all real Muslims.

Please note, I’m not saying anything for or against military engagement with the self-styled “Islamic State”. I’m just saying that such engagement, when and if it happens, isn’t “violence toward Islam”!

My friend thought it over and thanked me for my analysis, admitting it’s correct. He added he has nothing against Islam and doesn’t know much about the so-called “Islamic State”, which he says appeared nearly overnight.

I replied:

Good point that the “Islamic State” organization appeared “apparently over night”. Sadly, what has been around for a long time is violence and terrorism cloaking itself under a flag of religion, in an effort to make itself appear respectable. This has long happened in Islam, just as it has happened even longer in Christianity.

There are warmongers in the Middle East and elsewhere who call themselves “Muslim” although they are not. There also are warmongers in the West and elsewhere who call themselves “Christian” although they are not. What these competing factions share is a love for genocide and the habit of labeling their conflict a “war between Christianity and Islam”. Enemies that they are, they still cooperate and collaborate to the extent of trying to draw the whole world into their armed struggle.

When we speak the way they speak, we’re falling into their trap and helping their cause. There is nothing “Christian” or “Islamic” about murder, be it mass murder or one-on-one. Please don’t help these heretics get away with this labeling nonsense!


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