When the Ignorant Address Them, Answer ‘Peace’
“The servants of the Compassionate are those who walk upon the earth in humility and when the ignorant address them, answer ‘Peace’” (English translation of Qur’an 25:63).
Our minds reel again with sorrow at an instance of horrific violence. At least 50 people were murdered by a man in New Zealand, and we’ll follow the suggestion of New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, to non-cooperate with his desire for fame by not giving his name.
But his motivation was clearly racist, as seen by his writings. An attack on Muslims may technically seem more like religious bigotry rather than white racism – after all, there are plenty of white Muslims – but the lethal effect is just the same.
Fortunately, there’s been an outpouring of support for the victims worldwide, a much-needed nonviolent response.
Resources on Muslim Nonviolence
Islam and Nonviolence is an on-line book and based on a conference held on the theme.
Islam Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today, a book written in journalistic style.
Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam: Theory and Practice, a scholarly study.
Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl has written a book chapter on an Islamic perspective against the death penalty.
Writer and speaker Suzy Ismail has written on respecting life at different stages.
Hundreds of Muslim scholars and leaders have signed a 2014 Open Letter to Al-Baghdadi explaining in detail why the “Islamic State” actions are anti-Islam.
A Sample of Organizations Focused on Aspects of Nonviolence:
Pro-life Muslims, who oppose both abortion and euthanasia, quote from Qur’an 5:32 (English translation): “Whosoever saves a life, it is as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” A similar thought is found in the Jewish Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9: "Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." The idea applies to the entire consistent life ethic well.
The Muslim Peacemaker Teams, working in Iraq.
A Muslim vegetarian group: Islamic Concern.
Writings from Consistent-Life Authors:
Breaking Stereotypes in Fearful Times, a blog post by John Whitehead
Most of Chapter 7 covering Islam from the book Religions and Nonviolence: The Rise of Effective Advocacy for Peace, by Rachel MacNair, is available on-line in the google-books version.
Some Muslim Nonviolent Campaigns:
World’s first nonviolent army, the Khudai Khidmatgar in India (now Pakistan)
These are just a few; for more, search the Global Nonviolence Action Database for Muslims (or any other topic about nonviolent campaigns, including on many of the life issues and other issues).
Latest CLN Blog Post: Nuclear Disarmament
John Whitehead discusses Nuclear Disarmament as a Social Justice Issue. He covers the relationship of nuclear disarmament to feminism, racial justice, and protecting the preborn.
Quotation of the Week
A translation of Qur’an 41:34
The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! You will certainly find that your enemies will become your intimate friends.
Calligraphy for “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim”: in the name of God, the compassionate, the caring.” This begins every chapter but one in the Qur’an.
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