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Muslim leaders speak out

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
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OSMAN: It tends to be, unfortunately. That is one thing, also, why a unified leadership is important, and having true, proper scholars that are able to understand the meanings of verses is very important.

The problem we are having today isn't so much of widening opinions of interpretations of scriptures – what we see today are illiterate individuals that do not read or understand scripture in parts of the world, and their Muslim leaders, who are looking just for power and money and more influence, whatever that may be, so they utilize religion to incite those individuals.

I'll give you an example. In the Quran, there's a verse, "Slay the non-believers where they lay." There are verses that say that. You see the verse, and mind you, it's not just non-Muslim Islamophobes quoting it, it's terrorists themselves quoting it. So both the terrorists and these individuals who don't understand Islam – one thing that they are missing out on or forgetting is the verse directly before, and the verse directly after, that specifically describes and discusses the times of war. It's talking about self-defense.

So when it gives permission to "defend against those who have wronged you is given, but if they have stopped fighting, God has given you no right to transgress against them." Why does it have the word transgress? Transgress is an opposing force. It's doing something first. Harming some individual. If somebody comes up to me and starts waling on me on the head and starts punching me, and I end up punching them and accidentally snapping his neck, that's self-defense. I have every right to defend myself. I can kill an individual if he is attacking me, if I am in fear of my life. That is the meaning and the intent. But individuals are now trying to interpret it in a different way. What they are doing is just getting more power and more influence, and they're influencing young individuals who are illiterate, uneducated and don't know any better.

We often witness the public debate as to whether Islam is a peaceful religion or a religion that calls for the elimination of all those who are not Muslims – does that mean that there are different sects within Islam or that various religious leaders in the Muslim community have varying interpretations of the Word of God, much like we witness in the Christian community? The most ready example of possible divisions within the Islamic community would be the Islam subscribed to by the leaders of Saudi Arabia.

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