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Charlie Hebdo : Is Islam really a religion of peace?

Just ask any muslim in the world and the straight answer will be a clear 'yes'. But many terrorists claim that their version of Islam is the legitimate and correct one according to the sunnah and hadith. This confuses most of us and make us wonder which version of islam is the correct one. Does islam really promote peace or does it promote violence?

Following the deadly attack against Charlie Hebdo, a radio channel of the terrorist organisation Da'ech described the perpetrators of the attack as "heroes". The North African branch of Al Qaeda in turn posted several messages on Twitter praising the actions of the commando responsible for the slaughter in Paris. For these terrorist organisations these killers are known as "knights of the truth".

Visiting some of the jihadist web, the reactions seems to go all from ecstatic glorification to threat of new attacks. Sympathizers or activists have dubbed this jihadist attack in Paris "Ghazouat Bariz" and compare it to so called "Ghazouat Manhattan", a term used to glorify the horrifying September 11 attacks. 

Beyond the glorification of the attack against the French satirical magazine, other jihadist sympathizers promise revenge with similar actions against other cities such as "Rome, LondonNew York..."

These yihadists promise that the instructions of the leader of the Islamic state, Baghdadi, consisting to slay the infidels in their own land and these introductions will be followed to the letter. In Libya, far from the land of "infidels", the bloodthirsty Da'ech already have taken action: both Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Guetari, detained in Libya for several weeks, were "executed" by the local organisation of Daech according to the official announcement of this terrorist organization.

This double murder was justified by the fact that the journalists were working for "a satellite television channel that does not respect God or Islam," according to the yihadist organisation Daech.

Perhaps more disturbing fact is when some citizens from all over the world and whom have no proximity to the fundamentalist organisation ... at least not in appearance, seems to not hide their satisfaction: in the social media all over the web we can read messages such as "Well done against Charlie Hebdo", "Charlie asked for it", etc... 

A multiple-meaning corpus

Many Muslims have risen after the carnage of Paris to denounce these acts and stressed that this is not Islam.

Many jihadist justify their actions with messages such as "Kill! God command you!", It's a bit of an injunction of bin Laden, Baghdadi or Zawahiri.

Farid Benyettou, notorious preacher responsible for the indoctrination of Kouachi Brothers and Amedy Coulibaly (perpetrators of terrorist acts perpetrated in Paris), was known to his family for his "knowledge of the Koran."

The problem is that everyone interprets Islam in their own way, in fact it is not a mystery that violence does exist in Islam, as it does in other religions of the book. But depending of the interpretation of one or the other, it will not have the same meaning. Some would say it is contextualized, historicized messages, and others will say that it is valid in all places and all times.

So is Islam a religion of peace and tolerance, as stated by the vast majority of Muslims, or rather a bloodthirsty religion as showed by the extremists? Is this violence legitimate, lawful? Is it a duty? Where is the truth? Why are we all still not sure about the correct answer of a such important and basic question?

In Sura at-Tawbah 9/29: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled."

But in another sura 5/32: "Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors."

Map of the Muslim world. Hanbali (dark green) is the predominant Sunni school in Saudi Arabia.

Tradition itself opens the door to countless interpretations. The muslim jurisprudence, commonly called "ijtihad" is abundantly fed by the religious school of the Hanbali Madhab, referring to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (born in Baghdad in the year 780). This reference was the basis for the development of so-called Islamic law in several countries of the Arabian Peninsula.

Unlike the other three currents Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanafi, Hanbalism advocates a legalistic reading of Quranic texts and Hadith. And that is the key problem of fundamentalism: a puritanical approach to religion at the expense of reason, law and humanistic values.

In the ninth century, the Muslim rationalism was contested

To understand the origin, a brief historical detour is necessary. The gap between religious precepts and reason or human values lead to the creation of the Muslim rationalist school by Mu'tazila in the eight century.

This islamic current make reason, the heart of it doctrine (aql) and not the imitation (naql) as a source of legislation. The Mutazilite theology then develops logic and rationalism, inspired by Greek philosophy, and seeks to combine it with Islamic rules.

In other words, the supporters of this islamic current translate the religious realm based on the rational fact and adopt that lesson. But Muslim orthodoxy, embodied by the current of the Asharite school appeared in the ninth century, is unequivocal: the religious text must prevail over reason; the law is, according to advocates of this view, exclusively divine inspiration. Therefore, only a literal reading is permitted. This phase of the history of Islam has housed many divergent thinking and current controversies.

Centuries later, the Mu'tazila was dashed by the followers of the Hanbali school. The latter gave birth to a new religious school of thought; Wahhabism, referring to Mohammed Ibn Abdelwahab which will compound with the Saud family in the late 18th century to the creation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Since then, according to the tribal alliances (or strategic agreements), followers of radical groups takfirist speeches and ambassadors of a totalitarian Islam have continued to multiply. And any jurisprudence away, ever so slightly as the first meaning of Hadith or Quranic verses is unanimously condemned, described as "Bida'a" (innovation, straying from fundamentals texts), and convicted.

A religious thought frozen in time

The current Wahhabi approach only perpetuates the models of the past rather than looking to the future. As explained by the Syrian writer and Islamic scholar Muhammad Shahrur "this culture induced a significant imbalance in relation to two key concepts: freedom - the most important value - and justice. All the great revolutions of world history were made on behalf of these two values. "

For the author, "these two are also present in the texts of the Arab and Muslim history, beginning with the Koran. But it is necessary to examine how these two values were implemented in reality. Arab-Muslim collective consciousness has always been valued until today, the notion of justice and lost interest from that of freedom. "

Freedom and Islam

Freedoms, which include freedom of speech, body and soul are fought by religious fundamentalists.

And in the age of new technologies, the proliferation of transmission channels of radical thought and tools used for the dissemination of ideological propaganda, helping to fuel the jihadist higher bid, or at least, permissiveness or sympathy with terrorist acts perpetrated in the name of the integrity of religion.

Of course, one should not mix. All Muslims do not justify attacks against journalists Charlie Hebdo or any other, but be aware of one thing: to persist in saying that Islam is a religion that preaches peace and living together, we maintain a fig leaf in which the radical movements have their soil.

Religious fundamentalists obey a different party of a single religion.

Today, it is clear that to revive an enlightened Islam and human rationalist, Muslims have no other choice but to turn the page of religious fundamentalism, played by crawling Wahhabi Islam, to adopt, in everyday practice, the religious texts that defy neither reason nor common sense.

And this is especially noticible by the official media and by those who manage the religious field, they always try to highlight all interpretations that seek to implement a violent corpus which corresponds to a bygone era.

This approach is not contrary to religious teachings. On the contrary. The second Islamic Caliph Omar Ibn Alkhattab decreed during a year of meager harvests, the suspension of corporal punishment against thieves. This example is taken from the Koran, but the context which was introduced in Arabian Peninsula imposed that the former companion of the prophet was allowed to override the Quranic rule. If this change happened a few years after the Prophet's death, how can we support, 14 centuries after the emergence of Islam, the manifested idea of a life modeled on the time model ? ... the most brazen say that attitudes have not changed since. The most daring will make a caricature...

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