We live in an age of memes, soundbytes, and old-fashioned quote-mining contextomy. Muslims experience the misfortune of keyboard warriors wrenching the verses of Islam’s holy book out of textual and historical context every single day, yet it doesn’t take an especially religious or scholarly persona to see that Islamophobic memes aren’t telling the whole story.
Ro Waseem, a self-described atheist, examined one of more pernicious memes floating around Facebook and Twitter which essentially claims that the Quran tells Muslims to kill all unbelievers in all places and all times just for not being Muslims, all backed up by “proof” from Islamic scripture. But is that really what the Quran says?
I argued that when we view the passages in the meme in textual and historical context, the Qur’an is not even close to hate-speech to non-Muslims. Additionally, I highlighted the perils of proof-texting by using simplistic and naive memes.
Of course, this what many of Islam’s well-known scholars and laypeople say when confronted with such unthinking memic accusations. Just about any text of any religion or ideology can be mined for quotes to twist the intended meaning of the author. In this respect, Islam is no different and neither is the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita.
Now, I’m no scholar of Islamic military jurisprudence (“Fiqh”), but it doesn’t take one to see how misleading this meme is.
Indeed, it doesn’t take an expert, or a believer, to realize that we ought to critically evaluate what we read on the internet about Islam.