(The Independent) – Isis has sharpened many people’s sense of paranoia towards Islam. The majority of Muslims have a peaceful reading of the Koran, but as Isis commits more and more atrocities, the argument that the Koran equally invites a violent interpretation of its teachings has begun to gain ground.

A quick internet search that throws up certain passages which, read at face value, could prove these suspicions correct. For example, critics of Islam often cite verses such as: “fight such of the disbelievers as are near to you”; or to “kill the idolaters wherever you find them”. Passages such as these leave an impartial observer wondering — is Islam simply a matter of interpretation? Is the line between a peaceful Muslim and a terrorist simply a matter of which verses you follow and which you ignore?

No, is the emphatic answer of the Koran. Whether Islam is peaceful or extreme is not just a matter of interpretation, and for the simple reason that the Koran tells you exactly how to interpret it. Once you’ve read how it works, you’ll understand exactly why the verses above aren’t actually calling for “Death to the West”, but are in fact completely reasonable in their context. If that sounds far-fetched, then keep reading.


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