In April of this year, Dr. Mehdi Aminrazavi, The Khatib Chair in Comparative Religion gave a lecture at St. Joseph’s entitled “Violence and Peace in Islam.”
Dr. Mehdi Aminrazavi began his lecture with the history of Islam. Islam was established during the 7th century in Saudi Arabia. Islam became widely known after the prophet Muhammad’s ascendence. Islam, the religion of peace, spirituality and self-cleansing, eventually became a political tool. There has been a militaristic side to nearly every religion including Islam. In Islam the radical groups are the Taliban, ISIS and other groups who are a bunch of idealists who have the understanding of a utopia that they believe once existed. They believe that there should not be different nationalities. To strengthen their numbers they target people who are struggling in life, unemployed, in need of money, hopeless or outcasts in their community, or those with radical views to join their party.
After the U.S dismantled the Iraqi military, hundreds of soldiers were unemployed. As a result they became attracted to these group of fundamentalists in the Middle East that paid good money and needed soldiers who were skilled and high ranking. I was not familiar with this fact that Dr. Aminrazavi presented about Iraqi soldiers and how this had helped radical groups to strengthen their roots. From reading many articles I have understood that ISIS interprets the holy book, the Quran, differently from other sects of Islam. They cite verses from the Quran as justification for their actions and develop their own explanations that serve their goals. These idealists take the verses in the Quran literally, word for word in a similar way to how some Christian or Jewish extremists would read their holy book and interpret from their own point of view.
Overall, Muslims condemn terrorism. Concluding from the Islamic teachings it’s not permissible to end the lives of innocent people, therefore these radical groups does not represent Islam. Terrorism has no religion.