Is bin Laden projecting a false image of the Quran?
Stabroek News
November 15, 2001

Dear Editor,

Since the bombing of the World Trade Centre on September 11, many persons have been screaming for the head of Osama bin Laden, and harsh words have been spoken of the Taliban Government of Afghanistan. Both bin Laden and the Taliban have been accused by many persons, including Muslims, of projecting a false image of Islam. [See S.N. 8.11.01."Taliban has done much evil."]. The Taliban, the critics say, has misinterpreted and misunderstood the Holy Quran.

The Taliban, on the other hand, is claiming no wrong doing. It seeks to establish the first pure Islamic State based on the tenets of Islam, as ordained by Allah. Its actions have the support of many Muslims. Rafeek's Islamic Dawah Movement in the November 12th edition of the Stabroek News, under "The tenets of Islam", states, 'As far as many of us Muslims are concerned, the Taliban is in the forefront of correct Islamic practices.'

Should blame be laid wholly and solely at the feet of bin Laden and the Taliban? Have they, in fact, misinterpreted or misunderstood the Quran? Remember, they conscientiously believe that what they have been doing is right in the sight of Allah. Allah has commanded them to act in a certain manner. Shouldn't we, therefore, try to find out what the Quran says about certain matters relevant to the present issues?

The Quran teaches:- "not to make friendship with Jews and Christians," {5:51}; "not to befriend a non-believer even if he be your father or brother," {9:23}; "kill the disbelievers wherever you find them," {2:191}; "murder them and treat them harshly," {9:123}; "fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie and wait for them in every stratagem." {9:5}. Allah says, "fight the unbelievers," for "He will punish them by our hands, cover them with shame and help us to victory over them." {9:14}.

The Quran takes away the freedom of belief from all humanity and relegates those who disbelieve in Islam to hell, {5:10}; calls idolaters filthy and unclean {9:28}; orders Muslims to fight until no other religion, except Islam, is left. {2:193}. The Muslims are asked to be compassionate amongst each other, but have to be "harsh with unbelievers," {48:29}. A Muslim is taught to disobey the non-believers. [This will imply their governments, also]. {25:52}.

Allah has commanded his faithfuls to "instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, and "smite above their necks." {47:4}. Allah has assured the Muslims that when they kill in His name, it is not they who kill, but Allah. Killing of unbelievers is Allah's test of the Muslim Believers. {8:17}. In this Jihad, whether they kill or are killed, they return to the "garden of Paradise" {9:111}, where they are "wedded with celestial, pure and beautiful virgins, {55:54}. They are promised abundant food and drink for what they did. {Chap 56}. In Paradise are, also, "boys like hidden pearls."

As for women, the Quran says that they are inferior to men. {4:34}. "Your women are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth as you will." {2:223}. "As for those of your women who are guilty of indecency, call to witness against them four persons. Confine them to the houses until death." {4:15}. "The adulteress and the adulterer, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity for them detain you from obedience to Allah." {24:2}. Women do not have equal rights with men to their inheritance. {4:11-2}. Their evidence in a court of law has less weight that that of men. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban have been faithfully obeying the commands of Allah. The minds of these men, and millions of others of like thinking and beliefs have been conditioned by the teachings of the Quran. Herein lies the reason for their acts. The Quran is the primary and motivating source of everything they say or do.

Are they really projecting a false image of Islam?

Yours faithfully,

Oliver Barclay