Violence in Islam
(i) What are the mainstream teachings of your chosen religion on the use of violence (e.g. notions of Holy War, Just War, Wars of Self-defence, Jihad, etc.)?
The connection between violence and Islam has a incredibly incoherent and abstruse relationship in the ancient and contemporary mainstream teachings of the religion. In modern times, particularly after the September 11 attacks, Islam has been associated heavily with violence. This notion, however, can be seen to somewhat juxtapose the doctrine of modern Islamic law and theology taught by the majority of Muslim leaders. Conversely, there are mixed views within the community itself regarding the extent to which the Qur’an justifies violence, for example Ram Puniyani (2005) asserts that, "Islam does not condone violence but, like other religions, does believe in self-defense". Furthermore, Mark Juergensmeyer (2003) explains that the philosophies written in the Qur’an are ambivalent regarding violence. He affirms that, like most religions, Islam occasionally allows for force while stressing that the main spiritual goal is one of nonviolence and peace. Moreover, violence is evident, and even advocated, in the teachings of the Qur’an in over a hundred verses in the book (Richardson, 2003). Many of these verses, however, can be seen to be misinterpretations of a metaphorical attack on infidels, such as waging a war of words, instead of actions. Further misconceptions may arise due to the context of the verses, for example violence may be necessary when face against oppression or if they are being subjected to violence (Puniyani, 2005). Wallace and Effron (2010) note, that on one hand, the scripture says there is "no coercion in matters of faith", however, in another verse of the Qur’an, Mohammad implores Muslims to "fight those who believe not in Allah."
(ii) How do teachings about the use of violence by extremists within the religion you have chosen differ from these mainstream...
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