“It’s Their Interpretation of Islam”
by Michael Copeland
“Ah, but it’s their interpretation of Islam”, we are assured by smooth-talking muslim speakers. Journalists have picked this up, and dutifully write about “an extremist interpretation” that lies behind the latest atrocity. This assurance about interpretation is surprisingly successful. It is designed to make us doubt what Islam’s source texts mean, including — and this is the crafty part — those whose meaning is clear and obvious. We can easily be taken in by this appealing and fair-sounding assertion. It puts us off the scent. That is the idea.
First, it is necessary to clarify what is meant by an “interpretation”. If an instruction says “give away one tenth of your income to charity”, that does not require an interpretation. The meaning is quite clear, and the instruction can be exactly followed. An “interpretation” is different. Say a politician repeatedly evades an interviewer’s question with some bland generalisation. Eventually the interviewer says, “I’ll take that as a ‘No’”. That is an interpretation. It is quite a different matter from the straightforward following of what a text says.
Bearing in mind that the Koran — all of it — forms part of Islam’s law, how does the “interpretation” allegation stand up to the test?
Let us see. We can take commands and instructions from the Koran and Hadith and compare them with what muslim leaders and speakers say.
Koran 60:4 praises the “excellent pattern” shown by Ibrahim when he said (to the Jews):
“Between us and you enmity and hatred forever….”.
How do the spokesmen treat that?
- Osama bin Laden: “Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us.”
- Osama bin Laden: “Battle, animosity, and hatred — from the Muslim to the infidel — is the foundation of our religion.”
- islamqa.com: “Muslims in the West must have … enmity and hatred of the kaffirs.”
- Alminbar.com: “You should hate them, disown them and their religion.”
- Abu Usama, Birmingham: “No one loves the kuffaar. We hate kuffaar.”
- Anjem Choudary: “As a muslim I must have hatred for everything non-Islam.”
- Yousuf Makharzah, muslim cleric: “Animosity towards the Jews is an obligatory religious duty, and one of the signs of the believers.”
The Koran commands:
- “Kill the non-muslims wherever you find them” 9:5
- “Kill them wherever you overtake them, and expel them from wherever they have expelled you….” 2:191
What do the clerics say?