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Biased Judgment

In response to the article titled "Terrorism in Islam" written by Mr. Maziar Abtin, published in 226th issue of Payam Ashena Magazine (April 2011), there are a few points I would like to discuss

A) There is no doubt that when the Arab worriers and invaders attacked and defeated Iran centuries ago, Iranians were brutally and savagely treated and many of our cultural heritage and treasures were destroyed. Nevertheless these are sad and bitter side effects which usually happen on an outburst of any war.

B) There is also no doubt that during the last three decades, in the name of Islam, the rulers and authorities in Iran have treated the people with so much injustice and cruelty . This brutal regime has reflected an unprecedented savagery and a terrifying image of Islam which is by no means just or defensible.

Nevertheless an unbiased research or a fair judgment on any historical matter or religion should be based on various factors and be looked upon from different dimensions:

1 - Logically the true spirit of any religion or school of thought should not be judged and considered by the deeds of a few ignorant followers. Similarly, Christianity and Jesus should not be condemned and taken accountable for the horrendous crimes and injustice inflicted upon so many people by the Christian Churches and the clergies during the medieval times. The merciless tortures and terrifying inquisitions and interrogations done by the Christian authorities throughout Europe were not surely the preaching of the merciful and compassionate Jesus Christ.
Ever since then neither the Holly Bible nor the profound preaches of Jesus Christ have changed. What apparently have altered are the people who have become more tolerant and broad-minded and less prejudiced and self-centered.

2 - The way Arabs treated Prophet Mohammad`s family and close relatives by fighting and slaughtering them, including his grandson Imam Hossein in Karbala just a few decades after the Prophet was deceased explains the cruel spirit and savagery existed among nomadic tribes which stem from their upbringing and way of life.

The history has witnessed many of the like for centuries. They invaded rampaged and looted other tribes, communities and countries in the name of Islam. Whereas their behavior has nothing to do with Islam and true Muslims. It is unfair to judge and label Islam by condemning the very victims of these injustice and cruelties who were men of thought and insight .

3 - The history of mankind has witnessed countless conflicts and endless wars over wealth and power. It has always been a common attitude among nations and rulers throughout the centuries. Iranian kings and rulers were no exception either. One of them,Shapoor Zolaktaf, a famous Persian king was named because of his unique way of torturing Arab slaves . He ruthlessly ordered his men to place holes in the shoulders of slaves and pass a rope through and tie them up together. That is how he obtained his title by ordering this cruel and inhumane torture. This used to be and still is the way ignorant and heartless people behave when given too much power and authority. It surely is not the religion which promotes tyranny and injustice.

4 - Prophet Mohammad and a limited number of his followers were a minority who had claimed to believe in one God .They stood and rose up against the common belief of polytheism which had been deep rooted in that society for thousands of years. Therefore, it was expected from some of those ignorant and prejudiced people who had been highly benefiting from the casting system and its advantages before Islam to fight and defeat the new believers and be willing to uproot them from their society.

In order to survive and keep their faith, Muslims had to abandon and leave their properties and belongings in Mecca. Two separate groups had immigrated to Ethiopia and then 13 years later Mohammad and his followers had to leave Mecca and immigrate to Medina.
On his arrival the Prophet made peace with all Jewish tribes who were settled around the city and also with non believers and polytheist clans in Medina. Nevertheless according to the history Mohammad and his followers were repeatedly attacked and rampaged by those savage tribes and were constantly deceived and plotted against by the Jews. They therefore had to fight and defend themselves in order to survive and be able to keep their faith.

In addition, there has never been any historical evidence showing that 65 battles which were imposed on the prophet and Muslims were initiated and aggressed by them.

5 - Going through those battles and judging them without considering the time and conditions in which they took place, or condemning the Verses of the Quran concerning them with no scientific or systematic view and procedure and out of the context is unfair and unworthy.

6 - Historical reports about the old events are usually narrated either by friends or foes. They are mostly based on exaggeration and/or political intentions and therefore are not so credible. The beheading of 700 persons related to the battle with "Bani Ghoraizeh" tribe by Imam Ali in a single day is one of the kind! How can one believe such a made-up tale about something that happened a thousand and four hundred years ago! While in our own time with easy access to detailed information through media we still witness so many false rumors and exaggerated stories being reported we should not trust credibility of such baseless reports.

7 - In order to comprehend and fully understand the spirit of some of the severe and harsh verses of Quran concerning jihad and confronting enemies during the war, one needs to look at the complete picture in which Muslims were situated. They were surrounded and trapped by hundreds of savage and aggressive tribes who were ready to kill and destroy them all.

We cannot therefore separate the events from the context and judge them with modern day’s value system.

8 - The misinterpretation and misuse of Islam and the Holy Quran throughout the history by minorities of extremist who call themselves Muslims may not be generalized to millions of believers who have embraced Islam and have found peace and compassion in this religion. Such misrepresentations are also evident among followers of other religions. Misinterpretation of the Quranic Verses should not be construed as being consistent with the edicts of this religion or the actions of its followers. Therefore, references by the author of the article to the misrepresentations by a minority of followers is not to be extended to those who faithfully follow their religion.

9 - The language and terminology of Quran relating to heaven and hell is a metaphoric one. It is symbolically discussed in a way to encourage the believers and warn the disbelievers accordingly. These "verses" are called "allegorical" verses in Quran.

The language was scripted in a way to be comprehensible for those who lived a thousand and four hundred years ago and were ignorant and simple-minded people. According to Quran though, reaching out to God and getting closer to Him and being blessed by His love and compassion is the ultimate goal of any believer and is far more important than the described heaven.

Finally, I would like to state that humiliating and insulting the belief of millions of our nation does not necessarily help us solve our countless problems and remove the dark clouds of misery and misfortune cast upon our country. This method of argument and attitude will induce more hatred and hostility among our nation. Those who have suffered from cruelty, injustice and lack of freedom of opinion, should not step in the same path by repeating the same mistake.