Religious violence is on the rise on every continent on the globe. The vast majority of it has been instigated in the name of Islam by extremists who profess to follow its true teachings. If terrorism, torture and murder are, indeed, the true teachings of Islam, should America outlaw Islam?
Defenders of Islam say that nonbelievers have Islam all wrong – it’s a religion of peace. They say that Islamic terrorists don’t reflect the true teachings of the faith. For a large number who follow the belief system this could well be true, but only because they are cafeteria Muslims. Like many who identify with any of the world’s religions, some Muslims reject tenets of their faith they find objectionable and practice only those that are in agreement with their personal values. Like Buddhist sects whose followers drink alcohol and eat meat, not all who identify themselves as Muslims take prayer breaks during the work day or act on teachings that encourage them to kill infidels. But whether followers of Islam embrace all the teachings of the Koran or just selected verses, passages that encourage what any nation would classify as illegal behavior still exist in the primary text of the faith. Muslims who have suggested editing the Koran to remove references to bigotry against other faiths and calls to violent jihad have become targets of violence themselves.
Like any writing from a previous generation, the Koran is subject to interpretation based on modern perspectives. Scholars who practice the faith often disagree among themselves as to the context and meaning of various verses, including those that encourage violence, slavery, pedophilia, mutilation and murder. To muddy the waters further, most scholars agree that the Koran permits lying to infidels in the furtherance of the faith. Based on that, how could interpretations of the Koran by Islamic scholars be relied upon for accuracy?
A central role of government is protection of its citizens. To that end, the United States has routinely prosecuted organizations whose expressed purpose was to threaten public safety or violate the law. The right to religious freedom has never provided a legal shield for such organizations. In fact, groups that support illegal activity are not classified as religions – they are criminal enterprises. Until Islam sheds its teachings that promote violent criminal activity domestically and abroad, should America outlaw Islam?