Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

While the investigation into the motives of the suspected bomber in NYC continues, there is one aspect that gave me pause:

Multiple federal law enforcement and intelligence sources said that Rahami’s friends and family were telling investigators that they noticed a transformation when he returned from Afghanistan in 2014 regarding his dress and appearance. He had become more religious and started distancing himself from friends and family.

He had become “more religious.” What seems implicit in this statement is that his religiosity, somehow, led to his radicalization and his becoming a would-be mass murderer.

Let me say this: being “religious” and committing mass murder do not belong in the same sentence.

Now, author and internationally syndicated columnist Rami Khouri made a good point about why some people become more religious:

Still, there seems to be this contention in the minds of many that Islamic religiosity is connected with violent extremism.

This is simply not true.

In fact, Islamic religiosity should make someone less violent, not more.

If someone becomes more religious, he or she would become closer to God. This would then mean his or her love for God would increase. If one’s love for God increases, then this necessarily would mean that his or her love for God’s creation would also increase. As a result, violence would not be contemplated, since it would hurt the very creation of the God that one loves.

In the Qur’an God says:

Now there has come to you from God a light and a clear divine writ through which God shows unto all that seek His goodly acceptance the paths leading to salvation and, by His Grace, brings them out of the depths of darkness into the light and guides them onto a straight way (5:15-16)

The term “paths leading to salvation” in the above verse is literally translated as “the paths of peace.”

Thus, violence can never figure into one’s “path of salvation,” or “path of peace,” to God. They are wholly antithetical. Any non-Muslim who thinks otherwise is mistaken about our faith. And any Muslim who thinks otherwise is deluded by Satan.

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