Isis marchBoston
San Bernadino
Paris
Brussels
Istanbul
Nice
And countless more…

While following the news this year, I have been shocked and saddened to hear of the seemingly endless spate of terrorist attacks. The Western media largely blows up the stories of those in Western cities, such as Paris and Brussels, but there have been countless others in the Middle East and Asia. As much as some people may want to deny it, the overwhelmingly vast majority of these attacks have had a religious motive. That religion? Islam.

Don’t be mistaken here, I’m not at all necessarily claiming that Islam actually teaches and promotes acts of terror in its holy texts, but many people are saying that it does. Unfortunately, due to the vastness of terror attacks somehow motivated (at least in the perpetrator’s mind) by Islam, it has become easy for the Right-wing to denounce the entire religion as being violent. Conversely, it’s also been a convenient opportunity for the PC Police Social Justice Warriors that we call ‘progressives’ to denounce this as ‘racist’ (almost as if Islam is a race…) or ‘Islamophobic’, and use it as a convenient excuse to take away liberties under the guise of security.

The sad thing is that blaming the entire religion of Islam for these acts is rather easy for someone who sees the sheer destruction in the name of Islam and knows little to nothing about its teachings. If we know nothing about the Quran, but we see almost all the terrorists who commit these acts proclaim to be adherents of the Quran, can we be blamed for assuming that there may be a connection between the Quran and the attacks?

I’m not an Islamic scholar and so I recognise that I’m really in no position to make a value judgement about the actual teachings of the religion. At the same time, I have read a little bit of the Quran in English, and no doubt there are some particularly violent passages in it which could certainly inspire ISIS-like activity. Even so, one needs to interpret ancient texts like that in their proper context, and so I remain in a bad position to comment.

Now, with all that said, what’s most unfortunate for the Muslim community is that there has been a severe silence in speaking out effectively against acts of terror. There certainly have been a few Imams and other Islamic religious leaders who have condemned ISIS and others, but there has been a noticeable lack of substance to these condemnations.

In my view, the way forward for Muslims after these attacks is not simply to proclaim Islam as a religion of peace, but rather to back those statements up with evidence from religious canon: cite passages from the Quran and the Hadith which condemn acts of terror and importantly, do so with good context. If Islam is a religion of peace, then this should be no problem. What’s more, Westerners may actually begin to gain a better understanding of Islam. I would like to see more verses from the Quran and fewer Social Justice Warriors. Let Islam stand for itself and let us not judge a religion by its adherents, but rather by its teachings.

Now, all this being said, I accept that it’s possible that this is already happening. Perhaps there are Muslims out there using theology instead of political correctness to defend their religion. If so, then we need more of those Muslims. If not, then I believe that the ball is in the court of the Muslim community on this one. If you really do have a religion of peace, then by all means, please show us.  

Nicholas Babaya matriculated from Rondebosch Boys’ Highschool in 2015. He is Currently studying a BA at Rhodes University majoring in Politics and German.