Thursday, July 11, 2013


No compulsion?        Above my classroom, our compact library serves as a convenient research facility for my students when they debate. While there, they research their topics diligently. They seem motivated and efficient; their ensuing battles are impressive.

“While you’re there,” I instructed them a few days ago, “also investigate whether the Boko Haram should be regarded as terrorists. Write your opinion in a sentence or two.”

Other than a brief mention of the plight of Christians in Nigeria, and my concern about the complacency of the rest of the Christian world, that’s all I said.

Their debate went well; their topic was whether a person has the right to choose when to die. (Many of you responded when I wrote about that. One response was heart-rending. It described a reader’s encounter with five suicides that included a child despondent about his parents’ divorce, a woman in an abusive relationship who ended her life and that of her four year old daughter, and a man who set himself ablaze in my reader’s front yard.) Although our debate focused on end-of-life issues, the broader concerns were addressed when the opposing team mentioned the “slippery slope” resulting from making suicide acceptable. On Monday, the judges will name the winning team.

As for remarks about the Boko Haram, all students were either shocked by the discovery or upset that our country has done little to stem the carnage.

One wrote:  “…Nobody should kill anybody because of their religious beliefs…”

Another was outraged. “Just reading about this and now knowing this is going on makes me sick. I mean who are ‘you’ to decide what religion someone else chooses? Who are ‘you’ to kill someone because of that choice? NO ONE and I mean no one has a RIGHT to kill another person for any reason what-so-ever.”

A third reacted even more strongly. “Boko Haram in Nigeria is violence. I don’t know what they are trying to do but Islam gives everyone the right to choose his religion [my emphasis]. They don’t understand their religion. They cannot force anyone to be Muslim or follow their way of worship. If you kill one man, consider as you killed the whole people.”

Of the three, only the third concerns me. Those remarks indicate either denial or ignorance of the punishment for apostasy, the very real threat of death to someone who converts out of Islam. Such comments suggest a lack of awareness about demeaning terms for non-Muslims such as kaffir, dhimmi, unbelievers, and infidels.

Indeed, since that statement came from my Muslim student, I was concerned that she was being misinformed, shielded from much harsher truths. Why are there so few Jews, if any, in Muslim countries, even her own? Perhaps I should ask that question next. The site that follows addresses religious rights of non-Mulsims..

No Compulsion in Islam” - "Understanding Muhammad" by Ali   CachedMuslim apologists often say that there is no compulsion in Islam. ... " by 'New York Times' Beststeller Author Robert Spencer, Director of ...

As for my student’s statement, spoken by our President too, “If you kill one man, consider as you killed the whole people,” that’s dangerously out of context. It comes from Surah 5:32 in the Koran. However, it must be coupled with its contextural Surah 5:33. (please see: Answering Muslims: Deliberate Deception? CNN and Arsalan ...   Cached
CNN and Arsalan Iftikhar Massacre Qur'an 5:32 in Order to Defend Islam ... (Surah 5:32-33) to CNN and explain how this Muslim misrepresents the facts.)

Understanding the apparent dichotomy of the Koran requires knowing that it originates from both Mecca and Medina. That’s explained in this short article by Daniel Pipes.

A Tale Of Two Halves: Meccan Islam vs.Medinan Islam :: Reader   CachedA Tale Of Two Halves: Meccan Islam vs.Medinan Islam :: Reader comments at Daniel Pipes. 16 readers online now. Writings by Topic. ... of Surah 5:32&33 states:-

Briefly, Pipes explains that Mohammad left Mecca after his peaceful preaching produced near fatal results. When he reached Medina, he and his message were embraced. But his visions changed; they became more warlike. Because they contradicted Mohammad’s earlier peaceful visions, they abrogated and replaced those. Islam’s tenets were forever changed.

Despite being taught to believe otherwise, the problem with Islam is that its core reality inspires and justifies Boko Haram’s brutality. Although I protect my student and her innocence, she too must learn to develop a fearful respect for the truth. Compulsion is, indeed, blatantly alive and well in Islam.

                                    B.Koplen 7/11/13

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