Dear Friends,

 

So, what about the use of the term “Radical Islam?” There is no question that the vast majority of Muslims are good and decent people. And if we look to their holy book, the Koran, we find many teachings that deal with kindness and righteousness. Just to quote a few:
“Indeed, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression.” (Al Quran 16:91)

“The reward of good is nothing but goodness.” (Al Quran 55:61)

“Those who believe and do good deeds-the Gracious God will create love in their hearts.” (Al Quran 19:97)

But there are also numerous passages in the Quran that are not quite so loving:
“Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter, fight for the cause of God; whoever fights for the cause of God, whether he dies or triumphs, on him we shall bestow a rich recompense.” (Al Quran 4:74)

“True believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against the friends of Satan. Satan’s cunning is weak indeed.” (Al Quran)

“O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (Al Quran 5:51)

“You see many among them (Jews and Christians) vie with one another in sin and wickedness and practice what is unlawful. Evil is what they do…” (Al Quran 5:62)

Unfortunately, Islam has not gone through the kind of “reform” that has occurred in both Judaism and Christianity. Islam has no such liberalizing movements like Reform or Conservative, or Presbyterian or Lutheran, all of which have eliminated those aspects of our respective religions that we deem antiquated and meaningless for our time.

Yes, most Muslims view their religion as stressing love, compassion, and even co-existence and respect for people of differing religions. They are good, decent and enlightened people. But at the same time, there are unenlightened fundamentalists who seize upon those teachings that speak of a “holy war” against the “infidels” who do not embrace Islam, and who see it as their holy mission to dominate, if not kill, these people.

For me there is no question that “Radical Islam” is real and that it is a serious and spreading enemy that we face. Its teachers seize upon those with fragile minds, and indoctrinate them to engage in this “Holy War” which is the embodiment of evil.

Yes, we Jews have our own fundamentalists. But they do not seek to kill or eliminate those with whom they differ. They want to be left alone to observe and believe as they choose.

For us Jews, our goal is not to make the world Jewish. Our goal has always been to make the world a kinder and better place for humanity. Perhaps an ancient rabbinic teaching expresses it best: “The righteous of all peoples shall have a place in the World to Come.”

                
 

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg