It is with disgust that I am writing this note on the Muslims who recently attacked two churches in Peshawar, Pakistan, where over 70 Christians were murdered. I want to bring to attention several fundamental points in Islam that completely and utterly denounce hatred or acts of violence on Christians.
I have written about this very subject in the aftermath of the attacks on the Coptic Christians in Egypt. In that article I focused primarily on the message of the Prophet Muhammad for Muslims on how they should treat their Christian neighbors. In this piece I turn to broader spectrums found within Islamic scripture, albeit to prove the same point -- that Muslim attacks on Christians are incompatible with Islamic teachings.
First and foremost, the Quran tells us: "And you will surely find that of all people, they who say: 'We are Christians' are closets to felling affection for those who believe. This is because there are priests and monks among them, and because they are not arrogant." The Quran teaches Muslims to be respectful and to even admire Christians for their belief in the Abrahamic God. This is clear.
The Prophet Muhammad warned Muslims against acts of bigotry towards Christians and Jews, or People of the Book. Muhammad himself said, "Whoever hurts a person from the People of the Book, it will be as though he hurt me personally." In essence, by attacking the Christians of Peshawar, radical Muslims are in fact denouncing the message of Muhammad. Nothing is more un-Islamic than this abhorrent act.
In following the Abrahamic tradition, the Quran (2:136) states: "We [Muslims] believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and the revelation given to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) the prophets from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another of them, and to Him we are submitters." This Quranic passage suggests that Muslims, Christians, and Jews are all indeed brothers and sisters and that an attack on one is an attack on all.
It is clear that Islam emphasizes the oneness of humanity. For example, the Quran (4:1) states: "O mankind, fear your Guardian Lord, who created you from a single self and created - out of it - its mate, and made from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women." In Islam, therefore, all people have the same basic human rights, including the right to choose a religion without physical or mental coercion.
Islam, moreover, is not an exclusive religion. According to the Quran (6:164), God is the ultimate judge of our behaviour: "Your return in the end is toward Allah [God] [...] He will tell you the truth of the things wherein you disputed." In fact, Islam is an inclusive religion. It is an obligation of every single Muslim who honestly professes Islam to believe in Moses and Jesus and the rest of the Abrahamic prophets.
It is required by every Muslim to not only respect but also to embrace their Christian neighbors. Islam teaches Muslims to do the polar opposite of what the terrorists did this weekend to the two churches in Peshawar. It is a bit awkward for me to have to write this note considering that I am a Christian. Sometimes I feel that I understand Islam more than some so-called 'Muslims'. What do you think?