Radical Islam Is Not the Same as Islam?

By Kathryn Cressy

The Crown (Wilmete, Illinois)

In our generation, there have been more terrorist attacks than we can even keep track of. Often times, it seems like there is an act of terrorism happening once a week.

There are many things that come to our minds when we think of these violent acts, but one term that many associate with terrorism is “Radical Islam.” In several middle-eastern terrorist groups such as Al- Qaeda, HAMAS, and now ISIS, the Muslim religion is being used as a shield. ISIS is using Islam to justify their motives of monetary gain.

These groups practice what is known as violent Jihad, which is the belief that in order to be a “good” Muslim, one must  cleanse the world by eradicating other religious groups such as Christianity and Judaism. By filtering out other belief systems, terrorist groups want to establish a caliphate, which is essentially a theocracy.

In the eyes of ISIS, they have already established this caliphate. They believe that all Muslims should pledge their allegiance with the Islamic State. If they don’t, they become “apostates” and can be put to death, which  includes the Muslim religious sect, the Shiites.  ISIS also believes that the Quran should be followed with great detail and literally.

ISIS  justifies their bloody path to power with certain exerts from the Quran. It is important to understand that the interpretation that this group is taking is misguided and misinterpreted.  Many moderate Muslims do not agree with the actions of ISIS.

There are passages in the Quran that justify violence in the same way  that there are passages in the Bible’s Old Testament that persecute homosexuals and justify genocide. As a society, we need to realize that Radical Islamists are taking their scriptures literally, and not in a rational or an analytical way. These texts need to be studied in the context of when, where, and for who these passages were written.

The Islamic State follows these misinterpreted beliefs with extreme intensity. This shows in their practices of beheading and crucifying others that do not follow their ideology. No mainstream Muslim would condone these practices. In fact, these brutal forms of punishment go against the teachings of the Quran, which is why many Muslims denounce the acts of ISIS.

“Islam promotes peace and does not harm the innocent. We believe in solving problems through talking and avoiding killing people at all means possible” senior Reem Darwish commented.

“Nobody hates ISIS more than Muslims. They take our religion and use it as a means to execute thousands of people when in reality they’re going against the Quran. My religion and the Quran are peaceful and beautiful things that ISIS and all these terrorist groups have taken and destroyed the name of,” said Saharish Khan, a friend of mine and former Regina girl.

After the recent Paris terrorist attacks, anti-Islamic rhetoric is at an all time high. We tend to associate every Muslim with these terrorist extremist groups. We arrest teenage boys who build alarm clocks, we stop Muslims in the airport and question them,  and we shame women for wearing the hijab.

No, Islam and Radical Islam are not the same. Many feel that terrorist groups shouldn’t even be labeled with Islam because of the ways that they deliberately disobey the Quran. We need to end this societal norm of discrimination against mainstream Muslims because they are not one in the same with members of ISIS.

Photo Credit: edward musiak

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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