Westerners should try to understand Islam

SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- JOHN G. Stackhouse states Islam’s scriptures forbid forcible conversion (“Peace under Islam requires submission”, 18/8). He is referring to one verse in the Koran. However, several stronger verses abrogate this weaker verse.

These stronger verses demonstrate the duality in Islam and, unlike Western logic, there are two contradictory positions on virtually every topic, and both are true.

In order to be fully conversant with Islam and its impact on the non-Muslim world, every democratic Westerner must make it his or her duty to understand the religion and, particularly, the ideology.

While ignorance is bliss for the present, knowledge is power for the future. Awareness is achieved by reading the Islamic trilogy — the Koran, the Sira and the Hadith. The Koran cannot be studied in isolation to the Sunna — the way the prophet Mohammed lived his life.

Terry Coupland, Toowoomba, Qld

JOHN G. Stackhouse fails to acknowledge the aspirations of his own evangelical Christian roots when he accuses Islam of seeking “the peace of an empire united around one God and one faith”.

The New Testament is infused with similar references to the expected return of Jesus Christ, which will usher in the universal kingdom of God’s rule on Earth.

Indeed, all three Abrahamic faiths are mirrors of one another, and without the necessary reform of all religious traditions in accord with the divine worth of human dignity, justice and peace will remain illusory.

Vincent Zankin, Rivett, ACT

I TRUST the students of Scots College do not take John Stackhouse too literally. Students of theology understand that there can’t be two parallel concepts of God. As God is considered perfect, he would be expected to get it right first time, so the Bible and the Koran cannot both be revelations from the same God. Consequently, Christianity and Islam are entirely incompatible.

The interesting thing about Islam is that it sets out to negate almost all the tenets of Christianity, subjugating Jesus to a minor role. Both beliefs are based in one God so, from a Christian perspective, there can only be one source of Islam — that which is opposed to Jesus and his teachings.

Nowhere does Jesus teach war or violence, although he does foretell a catastrophic end where there will be slaughter on an unimaginable scale.

Islam, on the other hand, is spread under the power of the sword, not by love of fellow man.

Recent letters and articles in The Australian have clearly indicated that there is a growing awareness of the threat that Islam poses to our way of life. Stackhouse’s treatise, while academically well meant, doesn’t represent a realistic picture of the situation.

Trevor Jonas, Canning Vale, WA

WHILE David Kilcullen focuses to an extent on resolving the problems in Iraq, he does not address the fundamental problems that Iraq inherited from the US invasion (“Islamic State must be crushed”, 16/8). He fails to recognise that IS and its allies have triumphed because the Sunni populations of Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah have welcomed and supported them — not because of its atrocious and brutal behaviour, but in spite of it. These populations have had enough of years of being marginalised while suffering repression, lawlessness and rampant corruption at the hands of Iraq’s Shia-led government.

Any resolution of the imbroglio in Iraq must be regional and include the US, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. There may even be scope for the UN being involved. All these parties have an interest in avoiding a stateless bunch of terrorists operating on their borders.

Roy Clogstoun, Griffith, ACT

ANYONE who read David Kilcullen’s article could arrive only at one conclusion: we are witnessing the beginning of the third world war. Islamic extremism has erupted on a wide front.

All the hallmarks of a global conflict are there: a fanatical enemy that will stop at nothing to achieve its objective; a growing band of sympathisers from across the globe eager to join the cause; access to funds and resources to further the cause; and a clearly defined objective to ensure Islam dominates.

It is time for the world’s leaders to take stock.


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