Why would you kill someone for worshipping in a different way?

Okay, I admit to not being the most devout religious person in the world. I am Jewish and love and enjoy all of our wonderful traditions and holidays but don’t ask me about our dietary laws while I am eating a pork sandwich at Shorty’s Barbecue. The Jewish religion has many forms of religious belief including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and many other various levels.

The one thing that we do not want to do is kill each other for not worshiping as we do. Christians, with the minor occasional divergence in Ireland, I am sure feel the same way. You don’t often hear of Catholics wanting to kill Protestants or Baptists because they believe somewhat differently.

What then makes things so different in the parts of the world where most of the people follow Islam? I have been puzzled by this for many years. A while back I took the time to read the Koran and then invited several people from a local mosque to be a guest on my radio show to help explain some of my concerns.

Everything went fine until I began quoting passages from the Koran relating to what is to happen to the unbelievers, those who do not follow the rules of Islam as dictated. Frankly the penalties for being an unbeliever were unbelievable. When I asked them to explain all this they seemed puzzled and frantically began making phone calls to their superiors and still had no plausible answer.

I decided to make it my business to try and learn more about this religion that dominates our world. I read a fascinating book that I would highly recommend to anyone who might be interested.

It is called After the Prophet by Leslie Hazleton. It goes into quite some detail as to what created all of these splits between the Shia and Sunni and a young girl named Aisha, second wife of Muhammad, who seemed to be at the root of many of the problems in the Muslim world. Of course it all stemmed from the belief in Mohamed and who amongst his successors would be the most revered.

The book is as complicated as it is fascinating and gave me at least some insight into what is taking place in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific where more than 1.6 billion Muslims reside. The problem that I see is that these events go back thousands of years and I would have hoped that as a people they would have matured since then.

Apparently not! As I said at the beginning I am not a devout religionist but I would have great difficulty believing in a God that would instruct me to kill anyone who didn’t worship him as he wished. How anyone could think that their God would ask them to blow up an automobile in a busy shopping center or fly an airplane into a large building killing thousands of innocent people is a mystery to me and perhaps one we should all think about.

I write this article while our President and others may be weighing the options of bombing Syria or any other place with hopes of getting everyone living there to realize that they are in effect destroying themselves. Are we as a nation able to determine who was worshiping the correct way? I doubt it.

I use the example once again of a policeman, who I happen to know personally, who was called into a domestic dispute. The result was that he was attacked by both parties and had to call for immediate backup. Sound familiar?

He told me after that incident that he would never again respond to a call for a domestic dispute without having backup officers with him at the time. Very seldom are police personnel able to bring peace to a warring family. The same I believe holds true with our interference in the internal affairs of countries that we simply do not understand. The exception might be one country invading another in which case someone must protect the integrity of an independent nation.

I don’t often write articles on serious issues like this but I really hope that there are others out there who, God willing, think as I do.

Ernie can be reached at community@sochin.com

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