Is Islam “a religion of peace?”

LEADER TIMES WEEKEND RELIGION ARTICLE FOR

April 9, 2016 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129

Is Islam “a religion of peace?”  This is one of the eighteen questions Nabeel Qureshi addresses in his latest book, “Answering Jihad, A Better Way Forward.”  The book is a response to the December 2, 2015 San Bernardino shootings and the public response toward Islam.   One sentence at the conclusion of this chapter gives a glimpse of the tone of the book.  “Though violence is writ large throughout the pages of Islamic history, including in its foundations, that does not mean our Muslim neighbors are violent.   Muslims deserve to be treated with the kindness and respect due to all people.”

Dr. Qureshi was born into a devout Muslim family.  His journey from an apologist for the Islamic faith to Christianity is chronicled in his New York Times bestselling book “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.”  He holds a medical degree from the Eastern Virginia Medical School.  He also has a degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University and a degree in religion from Duke.  He is presently pursuing a doctorate in New Testament at Oxford.  He is presently associated with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

The Islamic question is acute in the Western nations and in the United States.  It is affecting the political climate as well as the life of the average citizen.  What do we make of the horrors we have experienced in the past year?  Why is this happening and what does it mean for our understanding of the Muslim community of faith in our midst?  Dr. Qureshi answers our questions with both truth and compassion.  There is one sense in which a real understanding of the situation can be communicated only from within the Muslim community.

Nabeel Qureshi is the son of a career naval officer in the United States Navy.  Their family finds its roots in the Qureshi tribe of Arabia which was Mohammed’s tribe.  By age five he had recited the entire Quran in Arabic and by fifteen had committed the last fifteen chapters of the Quran to memory in both English and Arabic.  His journey from Islam to faith in Jesus was agonizing and long.  That is why his insights into the current situation are important and incisive.   They come from a mind saturated in Islamic sources and an understanding of the Muslim community in which he was raised.

This article is not long enough to develop Dr. Qureshi’s insights.  It is long enough to encourage you to read this book.  It is brief, highly readable and inexpensive.  If you are a part of a book club in your community this is an excellent choice.  It will give the reader an accurate assessment of Islamic sources and of the community of faith in the West.  It will show what has been happening in recent years and why radicalization is taking place with some Moslems.  It will lay out the decisions that confront Muslims as they become more aware of the sources of their faith. And it will do all this with compassion and appreciation of the love and devotion of a Muslim upbringing.

The conclusion of the preface of this small book follows.

“This year will be pivotal in American politics, and I do not doubt that polarized opinions will intensify, not least because terrorist attacks may do the same.  But there are lives in the balance, and we must respond carefully.  I cannot feign impartiality.  Ignoring the reality of jihad endangers my nation, while responding with fear endangers my Muslim family.

“There is a better way forward, a way that upholds both truth and compassion.  I pray that is what you will find in the pages of this book.”

(Bill Scarle can be contacted at ravscarle@verizon.net). END-whs