Recently it was Muslim Awareness week on campus. I went to check out their set up because their posters advertising the event were ticking me off. They read, "Jesus was a Muslim". Now, given that Islam as a religion wasn't even birthed until about 600 AD (the Muslim girls I talked to thought it was about 400 AD), I'm pretty sure that Jesus was not a Muslim. That kind of purposefully provocative statement is in very poor taste, to say the least.
My friend and I engaged two Muslim attendants of the display in a dialogue (We knew they were wanting to talk because they were both wearing "Jesus was a Muslim" t-shirts). Eventually I had to leave to go to class, but my friend stayed to talk to them longer. When I got out of class, I went back and found her still there talking to them. I have to hand it to those Muslim girls on one thing, at least. They sure were patient.
Anyway, they seemed to define "Muslim" differently dependent on the situation. First, Muslim meant someone who submitted themselves to God. Under this definition, Jesus certainly was a Muslim. But then, a Muslim was anyone who did "certain things" - the "certain things" weren't defined.
See, it was explained to me, upon my asking, that so-called Muslim terrorists are Muslim, because there are certain things you do that make you Muslim. These terrorists are, however, bad and evil Muslims. This, in and of itself, makes sense. However, it makes no sense at all if a Muslim is "someone who submits themselves to God". Under that definition, a Muslim cannot be bad or evil, unless God is also evil, in which case, Jesus was not a Muslim at all because Jesus was good. So, there is a quandary.
As it stands, I am no less confused as to the "real" nature of Islam. I have heard both sides many times. From what I have gathered, there are two kinds of Muslims: noble Muslims and scary Muslims. Both are interpretations of the Qu'ran and have a shared history. Noble Muslims are nice, while scary Muslims will cut off your head. I have yet to hear a noble Muslim say that scary Muslims aren't Muslim at all, so I can only assume that they haven't been entirely disowned.
There's a lot more I could write about Islam, but I don't think I will. In fact, it is not at all improbable that this will be the only thing on Islam I ever post to this blog. I'm not even sure this will make it to the press. If you see it, enjoy it.
I've got a whack of Bonhoeffer quotes I need to start unloading. This one seems to mildly relate in a fairly benign way:
“Anyone who misunderstands or questions the significance of outward appearance in the world is a traitor to humanity.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer