In my article Changing How Americans View Islam I pointed out that when a Muslim is asked about a passage in the Qur'an that condones the killing of infidels, Muslims insist that the translation is distorted or misrepresented or taken out of context.
So, as usual, just in the past few days, Muslims (or Muslim apologists) have proven my case in their comments.
A commenter left the following in reply to my article Where Were Muslims When South Park Mocked Jesus:
... the problems plaguing the Muslim community has to do with taking the literal interpretation of the Qur'an, Sunnah and Hadith. Arabic is a very metaphorical language. By the very definition of translation, it cannot be translated.
If there is something in the Qur'an that sounds savage, barbaric, murderous - well - then it got lost in translation.
But suppose an infidel actually understands Arabic and reads Sura 5:51 "O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people."
According to Muslim apologists, infidels misinterpret this passage. Before I tell you what Muslims pretend it means, read this: A commenter left this response to my article Muslims Want World to adopt Mecca time:
at the moment forget about the Muslim religion. Think logically what Islam is by reading the Qur'an. Ask questions to great Islamic scholars or international orators ( Dr. Zakir Naik (www.irf.net, www.peacetv.tv )
Come to neutral side and think with logic and cool mind to understand what Islam is actually. Islam is the most misinterpreted religion in the world.
There you have it: "Islam is the most misinterpreted religion in the world." So if an infidel actually reads Arabic, and thinks he has translated it properly, he has not. Infidels always misinterpret.
How do Muslims say they interpret that passage? Here's a rendition they offer to Christians and Jews:
[5:51] O you who believe, do not take certain Jews and Christians as allies; these are allies of one another. Those among you who ally themselves with these belong with them. GOD does not guide the transgressors.
See, we are told, the passage only refers to accepting allies during a time of war, when Muslims are attacking someone else.
Don't buy it. When Muslims talk to each other the story is different: here a Muslim asks Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, a known Islamic lecturer and author:
Islam Question and Answer, Can a Muslim be a sincere friend to a kaafir?
Q: I have questions about Islam; can you explain them to me? Is it permissible for a Muslim to be a sincere friend to a person who is not Muslim?.
A: Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible for a Muslim to make friends with a mushrik [anyone who does not believe in the true God Allah] or to take him as a close friend, because Islam calls on us to forsake the kaafirs [non-Muslims] and to disavow them, because they worship someone other than Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allaah (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have despaired of (receiving any good in) the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have despaired of those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection)”
This was also the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
1 – It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “Do not keep company with anyone but a believer and do not let anyone eat your food but one who is pious.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2395; Abu Dawood, 4832. Abu ‘Eesa al-Tirmidhi said: this hadeeth is hasan. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2519).
Seems pretty clear to me.
In the end, as a last resort, no matter what you read in the Qur'an, even in Arabic, it doesn't mean what it says because you have to read it in the context of the times it was written in. If even if the Qur'an instructs Muslims:
“Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Qur'an 2:191
“Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood.” Qur'an 9:123
“When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them.” Qur'an 9:5
“Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.” Qur'an 3:85
“The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them.” Qur'an 9:30
“The infidels are unclean; do not let them into a mosque.” Qur'an 9:28
“Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies.” Qur'an 22:19
“Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them.” Qur'an 47:4
“The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.” Qur'an 8:65
“Muslims must not take the infidels instead of Muslims as friends.” Qur'an 3:28
“Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” Qur'an 8:12
“Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.” Qur'an 8:60
We are told that these all refer to a time when Mohammed was at war. We are told that except for a few hundred extremists, most Muslims and certainly most intelligent, American-born Muslims know the difference between the 7th century and modern times. However, this does not explain Zachary Adam Chesser who just two years ago was a normal human being but then converted to Islam and became a Muslim idiot who recently suggested that the creators of "South Park" be targeted for death.
This does not explain the thousands of Muslim protesters in the US, the UK, in France, in the Netherlands, in Belgium, in Switzerland, and all over Africa who show up with banners demanding that Shariah law be instituted in their host country, that free speech be banned, that Islam will rule the world.
The problem in the western world is not that there are too many non-Muslims who misinterpret or mistranslate the Qur'an or take it out of context, the problem is that too many Muslims correctly understand and interpret the Qur'an and put it into today's context.
If you know peaceful, kind, gentle Muslims, and the world is filled with them, it is because they are intelligent and ignore the Qur'an or they are ignorant and have not correctly parsed the meaning of what they have read. The only people who truly understand the Qur'an and are faithful to its precepts are Osama bin Laden and his associates.
Sadly, we cannot tell when moderate Muslims will turn into Jihadists: recall that Nidal Malik Hasan - before contracting SIDS (Sudden Islamic Death Syndrome) - was an American-born moderate Muslim with no criminal history.
This article available in Danish here.