If you’re on Twitter, chances are this nugget of wisdom has popped up in your feed at one time or another:
Muslims view “Islamic” terrorists the same way most Christians view the Westboro Baptist Church….
— Yasira jaan (@Yasirajaan) April 20, 2013
What bugs me about this statement – besides the fact that, as of now, it’s been retweeted over 8,000 times – is that it sounds wonderfully coherent without really being so. It’s predicated on the assumption that Islamic terrorism and the WBC both share the distinction of being fringe movements. Which is false. And here’s why.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are, indeed, on the fringe. (Actually, they fell off the fringe a long time ago.) The “gospel” they espouse is no gospel at all, and their “Christianity” is a Christ-less one. When the WBC preaches its hate-filled messages and engages in its hate-filled demonstrations, we can point out, with complete honesty, that such behavior is inconsistent with – indeed, diametrically opposed to – the teachings of Scripture. It shows nothing of the “family resemblance” of the family of Christ.
But what about Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, currently suspected of perpetrating the Boston Marathon bombings? Can we really and truly say that their actions were “inconsistent” with the teachings of the Qur’an? What about Mohammed Bouyeri, who shot Theo van Gogh eight times, cut his throat, stabbed him in the chest, and left two knives embedded in his corpse with a note attached? Can we really and truly say that this assassination was “diametrically opposed” to the core tenets of Bouyeri’s faith?
No. No we cannot. Not when a basic understanding of Islamic history and the Qur’an tell us otherwise.
Are all Muslims bloodthirsty killers eager to strap on C4 and hijack an aircraft? Of course not. I have no doubt that there are many Muslims who decry acts of terrorism with as much vigor as the rest of us. But let us not confuse the individual with the ideology. Moderate Muslims do exist, but moderate Islam? the so-called “Religion of Peace”? It exists only in fairyland.
In conclusion, therefore, my point is simply this:
The behavior of the Westboro Baptist Church is inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible. The behavior of Mohammed Bouyeri (and Tamarlan Tsarnaev, and any other Islamic terrorist) is perfectly consistent with the teachings of the Qur’an.
Sorry, @Yasirajaan, but that analogy is a no-go.