What is Islam?

Doh…. A religion, no?

Fair enough. However the question is not as ridiculous as it seems. Not after I read or hear phrases starting with “Islam does …”, or “Under Islam…

Many people in the West have come to think of Islam and Muslims as a homogeneous mass. They are not, and this is better explain by replying to the following question:

What is Christianity?

I’m sure that every Christian would answer by describing his own brand of Christianity, which may even differ from that of the person next to him in church, let alone from Christians all over the world.

Does Christianity approve the following?:

1) Divorce
2) Donating blood
3) Dictatorship
4) Murdering doctors about to perform an abortion
5) Homosexuality
6) Stealing if you are hungry

Any answer which includes the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in it is wrong. There are so many different visions and sub-groups all falling under the label of Christianity that while one thing would be a definite yes for a group, it could be a definite no for another, while another group of Christians might think it’s irrelevant.

Now let’s apply the same thinking towards Muslims. Is it Ok to stone an adulterer? Once again a yes or a no answer is wrong. In Iran it is the most obvious thing to do. In Turkey it is illegal to stone someone. Yet, even in Iran there are a lot of Muslims who are against stoning, and in Turkey you will probably find a few who agree with it.

A particular redneck is at the time of writing preparing to burn some 100 Korans in public. Pastor Jones thinks he is giving a message to ‘Islam’, that he is against violence and terrorism. His actions have brought condemnation from all over the world, starting with General Petraeus who is commanding US troops in Afghanistan, as well as the the Catholic Pope.

However, what Mr Jones doesn’t seem to know is that he is literally fighting windmills, since there is no such thing as ‘Islam’. That the absolute majority of those he wants to offend by burning the Koran are already against violence and terrorism.

If I was a redneck like the Pastor myself, I would advocate for burning Bibles as a protest. However, as much as I don’t think Muslims are a homogeneous group, neither do I think so for Christians. If this Pastor is stupid and intolerant, it would be unfair to say he represents Christians. As much as it would be unfair if I say Mohammed Atta represents Muslims