Violence, Head-on

Why The Atlantic's Graeme Wood was (mostly) right about ISIS.

In three quotations—

Because the ideology is the product of a major world religion, a lot of painstaking pretzel logic goes into trying to explain what the violence does, or doesn’t, have to do with Islam. Some well-meaning people tiptoe around the Islamic connection, claiming that the carnage has nothing to do with faith, or that Islam is a religion of peace, or that, at most, the violence represents a ‘distortion’ of a great religion.

A religion is not just a set of texts but the living beliefs and practices of its adherents. Islam today includes a substantial minority of believers who countenance, if they don’t actually carry out, a degree of violence in the application of their convictions that is currently unique.
— George Packer, The New Yorker, in the wake of the shootings at Charlie Hebdo
They are not simply a bunch of godless thugs, at least not in their own eyes. They are not simply using religion to serve other agendas. They are clearly and self-consciously religiously motivated. I do not, by any means, believe that ISIS’ interpretation of Islam comes even close to qualifying as a majority interpretation today. But I am convinced, based on Islam’s founding texts, based on parts of Islam’s history, and on some ways that the founding texts have been interpreted historically, that we are fooling ourselves when we simply dismiss ISIS’ claim to ‘legitimacy’ as a religious movement.
— Martin Accad, The Institute of Middle East Studies, on ISIS and diversity in Islam
It is urgent for both Muslims and Christians to address the hermeneutical challenges of violence and expressions of injustice within their respective scriptures and the history of violence and injustice within their traditions.
— David Shenk, global consultant for Eastern Mennonite Missions, from the foreword to A. Christian van Gorder's book "Islam, Peace and Social Justice"

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