USA Today Column: "The Quran's deadly role in inspiring Belgian slaughter"
Nabeel Qureshi is a Muslim. His father served as a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy. She grew up believing Islam is a religion of Peace, and that his family's love was an extension of their religion.
She still believes that.
But her eyes are wide open.
From the USA TODAY of all places:
My father served in the U.S. Navy throughout my childhood, starting as a seaman and retiring as a lieutenant commander. I believed wholeheartedly a slogan often repeated at my mosque after 9/11: “The terrorists who hijacked the planes also hijacked Islam.”
Yet as I began to investigate the Quran and the traditions of Muhammad’s life for myself in college, I found to my genuine surprise that the pages of Islamic history are filled with violence. How could I reconcile this with what I had always been taught about Islam? In February 2015, the U.S. State Department Acting Spokesperson Marie Harf suggested that a “lack of opportunity for jobs” might be a significant factor in radicalization and terrorism.
Alternatively, Suraj Lakhani, a scholar of radicalization in Wales, suggested that the process is driven by religious concerns and a drive to bolster one’s personal identity. He implies that young Muslims ought not be allowed to hear ISIL messages or interact with their recruiters.
Naturally, I agree that interacting with ISIL recruiters is a bad idea, but I believe what the recruiters themselves say sheds the most insight on the radicalization process. ISIL’s primary recruiting technique is not social or financial but theological.
With frequent references to the highest sources of authority in Islam, the Quran and hadith (the collection of the sayings of the prophet Muhammad), ISIL enjoins upon Muslims their duty to fight against the enemies of Islam and to emigrate to the Islamic State once it has been established.
As a young Muslim boy growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was impossible for me to look up a hadith unless I traveled to an Islamic library, something I would have never thought to do. For all intents and purposes, if I wanted to know about the traditions of Muhammad, I had to ask imams or elders in my tradition of Islam. That is no longer the case today. Just as radical Islamists may spread their message far and wide online, so, too, the Internet has made the traditions of Muhammad readily available for whoever wishes to look them up, even in English.
When everyday Muslims investigate the Quran and hadith for themselves, bypassing centuries of tradition and their imams’ interpretations, they are confronted with the reality of violent jihad in the very foundations of their faith. The Quran itself reveals a trajectory of jihad reflected in the almost 23 years of Muhammad’s prophetic career.