In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, there were members of the Muslim community who were praying that it was not “one of theirs” that committed the offense.
Their angst was not unlike the silent yearnings African-Americans used to feel, and perhaps still do, every time there was a report of a crime. Please, we would pray, let it not be one of “us.”
Even as the drama unfolded, there existed an uneasy thought that this heinous crime had been carried out in the name of religion. John King, on CNN, said out loud that “reports” indicated that the crime was committed by people who were said to be “dark-skinned.” He said he had gotten his information from very credible sources. That could mean many things: perhaps the perpetrators were Hispanic, or African-American …but everyone knew that the suggestion was being put forth that this thing, this horrible, horrible thing, was done by someone of Middle Eastern descent, in the name of religion. Jihad. Holy war.
The word “Islam” means “submission,” or “surrender.” One who is Muslim surrenders to God, or is supposed to. But so are Christians supposed to surrender to God. Few in either religion do that.
Instead, heinous, hateful acts are carried out in the name of God. What could be more disgusting than that?
Acts of violence like this – or even like the Crusades – are carried out in the name of God. “Jihad” has come to mean “holy war” when in fact there seems to be some misunderstanding. Radical Muslims carry out “jihad,” they say, to defend God’s purposes. They interpret it as “holy,” and use it to justify their need and desire to frighten the hell out of people. (intended). Non-Muslims know that just hearing that word will instill fear in non-Muslims and will cause them to dislike and be afraid of Islam as a faith.
But the word “jihad” actually means “to struggle for a good cause.”
Some people derive a crass sense of arrogance as they use God and religion to justify their own tormented souls and desires. They think it somehow elevates their crime above the level of crime. It does not. God is not a criminal and does not justify criminal acts.
We as Americans are furious at the cowardly act of terror committed by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his elder brother, Tamerlan. Tamerlan was said to be very religious, and had begun showing behavior of a religious fundamentalist. In his mind, he probably felt justified to plant the bombs that killed some and destroyed the lives of so many others. If he were alive, one wonders if he would have stated, with a fair amount of arrogance, that God had ordained it. That is just as ridiculous as Christians bombing abortion clinics and claiming that God directed it, that God is pleased with their work. They are, after all, stamping out what THEY define as evil.
Those who commit violent acts in the name of religion and of God are off the mark and display a fundamental misunderstanding of God and what God stands for. God does not condone, support or encourage evil or violence or murder or discrimination …
Those who do such things delude themselves, and far too many others. God …is not a thug. God is love, and compassion, and mercy.
God …is not a thug.
A candid observation …