The word "Islam" means "peace" in the Arabic language. Judaism, Christianity and all other religions brought the same message of peace, love and equality at different times in different lands, urging followers to build a civilized global society, free from prejudice based on caste, colour or creed. Unfortunately, what religions preach honestly, many followers don't practice sincerely.
The real challenge ahead for multicultural societies is where and how to draw a line between hate and history. As Jonathan Kay noted in a Globe and Mail article, "Like the Bible, Muslim scripture contains a lot of material that by modern standards would be considered sexist, homophobic or even anti-Semitic".
The Bible, Qur'an and other ancient religious texts are taken as the word of God by their followers, even though modern standards are much more accepting of differences. Even the faithful hesitate to edit their scriptures, much less allow outsiders to do so.
On the other hand our libraries and websites have a vast literature written by western scholars that condemn Islam, the Qur'an, its laws, and the socio-cultural norms preached and practiced by Muslims. Are archival materials spreading hatred? Or is that material not used by our students and researchers?
History is full of conflicts and contradictions. Although ancient religious texts can't be edited and we can't stop teaching history in classrooms, we do need to remember that history is written by the victors.
It is up to believers to build bridges of understanding. The path to progress and prosperity lies through peaceful co-existence. But creating understanding is a two way process that ought to be reciprocated with friendly gestures and mutual respect, by all segments of society.I'm going to have to give him an "F" on this paper because:
- Islam does not mean "peace"; it means "submission";
- Mr. Kay made his tu quoque argument in the National Post, not the Globe and Mail;
- in a free society, one is allowed to examine and criticize Islam and every religion/belief system. To do so is not an act of hate, but amounts to a desire to gain understanding. It's only in sharia-ridden and other unfree societies that such explorations are deemed hateful and/or blasphemous; and, finally,
- what's the point of "building bridges" and "creating understanding" with those who lull you with smiles and samosas even as they are teaching/preaching the ugliest, most pernicious Jew-hate behind closed doors?