You only have to read some of the articles and opinions that have been submitted in this debate to understand the answer to this question. Not only does it fuel Islamic extremism, but it also alienates everybody else and creates the wrong perceptions and ideas about Islam as a religion. The fact is that no religion promotes hate. One of the first words of the Quran states, “Let there be no compulsion” and it is filled with anecdotes and ideas about choice as a person’s basis for power which comes from the heart. Furthermore, the Quran sanctions the Bible and the Torah as religious books that came before it. It also speaks of the Prophet Jesus as the Messiah.
The Quran speaks of the Old Testament as a choice to follow from the Bible because the New Testament is based on the word of disciples who followed Jesus instead of words that came directly through him from God. The same can be said for following anything that was produced after the Quran, namely the Hadith. Many of the fatwa laws are based on and inspired by these series of books. While there are many beautiful stories that come from the Hadith and the time of the prophet Muhammad, the fatwa rules are meant to be able to tell you which ones are acceptable and which ones are not.
Fatwa laws are mainly political
Fatwa laws are mainly political and many of them come from a need to control Muslims. They are laced with fear and they show just how ignorant the people who govern them are. Recently in Malaysia, a Fatwa law was passed banning Muslims from practicing the art of Yoga, the reason being that it derives from Hindu beliefs.
That statement in itself displays utter ignorance and an archaic way of thinking and reasoning. That isn’t the point because in doing Yoga, no person is asked to convert, practice or immerse themselves in those beliefs. There is little place for this in the modern world and thank God for the Malaysians, their Sultans have since intervened and put the ban on hold, citing that they never gave permission for the law to have been passed in the first place.
Religion is personal.
There are many spiritual people in today’s world who practice the principles that are outlined in all religions without conforming to a particular source. Religion is also a choice and should never be forced upon anybody. These types of religious bodies are it from Islam or Christianity, tell us that the word of the holy books is not enough and that the free will that God bestowed upon us is not really ours but instead theirs to mold and shape as they see fit. Besides, the question still remains, what makes them fit to make these decisions for us? Did they descend straight down from the sky with divine powers? How in their own lives do they demonstrate what they preach? Even the prophet Jesus didn’t use force to spread his word. The only time he displayed any anger or intolerance was with the money changers in the temple.
The fatwa laws seem to be the only part of Islam that gets media coverage these days.
In addition, there is no distinction being made between a culture or race that uses Islam as its religion and Islam on its own, as a religion. Terrorism, 911 and all things violent and cruel are now synonymous with Islam. It truly is a sad thing. Yes, I have read the Quran and there are many harsh and frightening descriptions that go with it but the same goes for the Bible.
These were depictions necessary for the old way of understanding. We have evolved and with that, so has our thinking. Therefore, it is our duty to read between the lines and find the magic that lies beneath. I for one do not need a group of backward ignorant and most importantly, fearful and corrupt men doing my thinking or interpreting for me. ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error’ [Al-Qur’an 2:256]