A friend of mine sent me an anti-Islamic story that is making the rounds. Some online investigating found the story to have no basis. But below is my response to the overall fear of Islam that grips some evangelicals today.
The story goes that a imam was asked whether Muslims were called to kill Christians and he had to admit yes. But the imam's response is not believable, especially with the number of Quranic passages which speak of respecting the other person, including religious minorities.
"Goodness and evil are not the same. So repel evil with goodness, then the one who had enmity between you becomes a trusted and dear friend" (41:34)
"And fight in the cause of God those who fight against you, and do not commit aggression. Indeed God does not love those who are aggressors," (2:190 )
"And if they (an unbeliever) incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in God; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing." (8:61)
"there is no compulsion in religion," ( 2:256)
I assume that reading the Qur'an is like reading the Bible. Either you need to have these verses cohere or at least you need to decide how you plan to read the text. Will you read it in a way that increases love of God and of neighbor? Or one that does not?
After all, the Bible also has passages that praise the slaughter of people of other religions.2 Kings 23:20-25 speaks of King Josiah who is clearly a hero in this story.
"He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them..Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since"
Now we could read the Bible as saying that the above action is ok, or we might look to the passages in the Gospels where Jesus speaks of love of neighbor and enemy. Matthew 5-7 and use that as our guide. I'd go with the latter. And most Muslims go with the verses that I quoted from the Qur'an.
I've had the pleasure of working with Muslims and people of other religions through the Carbondale Interfaith Council and they have demonstrated the kind of charity and regard that would serve as a model for others of any faith.
Of course there are bad apples in both religions who will use the Bible and the Qur'an for whatever hateful purpose they want from the KKK to terrorist groups. But why impugn a whole religion or a whole people over a misreading of their scriptures or by the actions of a few? How does that increase our love of God and of neighbor?