The recent criminal attacks in New York and in other parts of the nation have no basis in Islam, no matter what agenda the perpetrators of the attack had to serve. Islam’s religious objective is that all human beings should submit to Almighty God in every sphere of life. Since Islam is a principle one could accept or reject, there can be no coercion in it. Islam requires of its followers respect for the choices other people have made in the ways they lead their lives. It requires Muslims only to present Islam to others and not to force humanity to accept their religion. It teaches Muslims not to belittle or hate the followers of other religions, but to protect life indiscriminately, and establish the principles epitomized in the Quraanic verses below:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things” (Chapter 2: Verse 256).
“[There are] those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, [for no cause] except that they say, “our Lord is Allah.” Had not Allah checked one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah (God) is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid His [cause]; for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, [able to enforce His Will]” (Chapter 22: Verse 40).
In light of recent events and media coverage on Islam throughout the nation we may ask the question, “Is Islam opposed to America?” Although Islam is opposed to several aspects of Western culture, such as exploitative capitalism, materialism and sexual promiscuity, it shares many American and Western values. The principles of freedom of religion, freedom of statement, protection of human rights, and a healthy cultural and intellectual development of human society are some values shared by both Islam and America. Thus Islam is not against nor does it hate the United States of America.
In the present times, Islam and the Muslims are not the lone voice in being opposed to some aspects of Western culture, but there are many other religions and peoples of various nationalities, races, beliefs and values, including Americans, who feel the same way. Islam recognizes differences between people and that it is essential for human civilization to be continuously reflective and reform its existence. It prescribes a constitutional system wherein different peoples may mutually consult each other for the betterment of society, very similar to the present constitutional and democratic social system in our nation. The constitution for Muslims is the Glorious Quraan and the teachings and actions of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). The Quraan does not refer to just Muslims, but to all people, saying:
“Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what God bestows on them for Sustenance … ” (Chapter 42: Verse 38). There is no reference to just Muslims; thus, violence is not an option in Islam.
In this time of great trial all Americans, Muslim or non-Muslim, Arab or non-Arab, Native American, Anglo American, African American, and Asian American, and indeed all of humanity must come together in unity and in support. In Islam’s world-view, in which life is but a test, we must respond to this trial in a just and united manner for the pleasure of God, and for the progress of all human beings.