“By now we know well the opposing worldviews that characterize our struggle with extremists. The latter promote the cult of death, whereas we—the mainstream—promote the theology of life. They believe that only they know the will of God, which they can impose on people, whereas we believe that the will of God is represented by the will of the people. They believe Sharia is limited to draconian punishments to terrorize people, whereas we believe Sharia is the path to God—one defined by different groups that adhere to justice, mercy and compassion. They believe grievances are irreversible facts that should be fuel for political violence, whereas we believe grievances can be redressed non-violently, and in partnership with others who, like us, respect human dignity. They believe that recruiting young people to serve as their warriors will be their unending revitalization, whereas we believe that the mission of Islam is entrusting Muslim youth to be ambassadors of good will and future leaders,” – Salam al-Marayati.
The struggle of our time is not between religions so much as within them. The battle is between fundamentalist certainty and religious humility; between those who see divine truth and seek to live by it, and those who think they see divine truth and want to impose it on others; it is between Islam and Jihadism, between Christianity and Christianism, between the humane ethics of Judaism and the extremist bigotry of many West Bank Settlers. Until these internal struggles are resolved, the external dangers will endure.
(Photo: A crowd gathered during a vigil for the marathon bombing victims held at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Boston. By Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images.)