With the birth of Islam, Arab lands became a holy place inhabited by three faiths at the same time. The first migration by Muslims under severe pressure from the idol-worshipers in Mecca was to Ethiopia (Abyssinia) where the Christians there welcomed them. They put them up in their homes, welcomed them at their own tables and gave them their own clothes to wear. That is the essence of religion; love, affection and protectiveness.
Prophet Mohammad (saas) would take part in the feasts of the People of the Book (Christians and Jews), visited their sick and gave them gifts. When the Christians of Najran came to visit him, he spread his own robe out for them and desired them to sit upon it. That great kindness says a lot about the Qur’anic attitude to the People of the Book and the superior moral virtues of our Prophet (saas).
In the time of our Prophet (saas), Arabia was a place where this love and kindness prevailed between the People of the Book and Muslims. The Constitution of Medina, regarded as the first democratic agreement our Prophet (saas) made with the People of the Book and pagans in the state of Medina, is an incomparable example on this subject. As a result of this agreement, members of the state were regarded as equal, regardless of faith or race, all faiths were respected and justice was brought in for all. The clause regarding people’s rights being protected in union appeared as a major condition, and the agreement was put into force.
Arab lands are still home to Christians. It is a cause for rejoicing to see a Christian presence in the Muslim-majority region. According to the Qur’an, the People of the Book occupy a special place for Muslims; just as in the Prophet’s (saas) own policy, they must enjoy affection, protection and security from Muslims.
The picture emerging in part of these lands today is rather different from these expectations. Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have become the most dangerous countries for Christians in recent years. Syria, where Christians and Muslims lived in peace for centuries, became as much a nightmare for Christians as it had for Muslims by 2013. Religious discrimination is the cause of the attacks on Christians: In 2013, more Christians were killed because of religious discrimination in Syria than in all the rest of the world. (Deaths of Christian ‘Martyrs’ Doubled in 2013, Time, http://world.time.com/2014/01/08/deaths-of-christian-martyrs-doubled-in-2013/)
The situation was no different in Iraq. The Iraq war, started as an operation against a ruthless dictatorship, left even worse violence behind it. While that violence caused the slaughter of its own citizens on the one hand, increasing radicalism has encouraged sectarian conflict. One of the targets of the terrifying mindset that emerged was again Christians.
Egypt, whose radicals were stirred up by military intervention, was no different in 2013. Tanks becoming a part of the political process enraged the fanatics still further; that rage led to slaughtered Christians and the burning of glorious churches hitting the newspaper headlines. (Let me make it clear here that the Muslim Brotherhood issued an official statement condemning the burning of churches. The reference here is therefore to radical groups and individuals supporting violence, not to the Muslim Brotherhood.) Yet according to the Qur’an, are Muslims not responsible for the protection and upkeep of churches and synagogues? Were churches and synagogues not repaired by Muslims in the time of our Prophet (saas)? How could these truths about Islam have been so easily forgotten?
They were forgotten because of a desire to replace Islam, a religion of peace and love for 14 centuries, with another superstitious faith developed over the last few decades. The name of that false religion is fanaticism. Fanatical thinking is shaped with rage and is strengthened with violence. The policy of violence in the Middle East encouraged the fanatics toward greater violence and gave rise to radicals who could stand to tolerate nothing other than their own false faith. Lands in which Muslims and Christians had lived together for centuries were now uninhabitable. The People of the Book, who had lived at peace among Muslims for centuries, were now living under threat.
In the light of all this, the following truth must be well understood: To claim that the angry attitude toward Christians that is growing so alarmingly in the Middle East stems from Islam itself involves a major and serious error: On the contrary, the fanaticism in question is the result of the abandonment of Islam. The source of the false religion that feeds radicalism is not the Qur’an, but nonsense. It is for these reasons that this false religion can only be eliminated with the Qur’an.
All religions are built on love and if a religion has turned away from love, it has turned away from its true source; that is what happened in the radicals’ world. The only way to open up a path of love to them, to tell them of the value of the People of the Book for a Muslim, is to educate them with the Qur’an. If the Western world does not wish to see more violence in the Western world, if it is concerned for the lives of Muslims and Christians living there, then it must concentrate on a program of education in which the proofs of the Qur’an are shown in books and CDs disseminated free of charge. This is the only path to follow for the salvation of Muslims, Christians, Jews living in fear in the region and it goes without saying, for all mankind. To that end an alliance between moderate Muslims, Christians, Jews and all people of good will is essential. That is the only way to stop this ever-escalating cycle of violence.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Weekly Blitz: