Thursday, May 9, 2013
|Young Mohandas Gandhi|
Gandhi thought otherwise. He applied it and made history. Gandhi took that principle and made it the cornerstone of his successful nonviolent resistance movement in South Africa and then in India. And when women in America were struggling to get the vote, they followed Gandhi's example and succeeded too. Martin Luther King was also inspired by Gandhi's example.
Gandhi's earnest endorsement of the religious teachings found in a religious text and then sharing it with believers of the religion is similar to what is happening all over the Muslim world today. Muslims are reading the Koran and going to their fellow Muslims saying, "Did you know we're supposed to be covering our women, striving to seize political power, deceiving and terrorizing infidels, and waging war against them until the whole world follows the law of Allah?"
Often (fortunately), they also get a lukewarm response. But, of course, many of them are reading and following those teachings, and they, too, are making history. More people now die annually in the name of Islam than died in the 350 years of the Inquisition (source). More people have been killed in the name of Islam than have been killed by any other ideology or religion by far (source).
Like Gandhi, these enthusiastic Muslims are following the teachings of a religious book but, of course, the teachings of each religion can be quite different. A devout Jain doesn't eat meat. A devout Buddhist follows the Five Precepts (abstains from killing, lying, stealing, sexual misconduct, and becoming intoxicated). A devout Christian forgives enemies. A devout Muslim tries to make Islam the dominant religion on earth, by peaceful means if possible, by force if necessary.
I don't see how this problem will ever go away. I hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem possible to eradicate all Korans and Hadiths from the face of the earth. And as long as these texts exist, it seems likely that somebody will find them and follow them.
But the destructive impact of Islamic teachings can certainly be restricted and restrained. And you can help. The more of us involved, the more successful we will be. Here are thirty things an ordinary non-Muslim citizen can do to help contain the embedded danger in Islamic texts: What Non-Muslims Can Do About Islam.