On October 9, 2012, the Taliban stopped a school bus in the Swat district of Pakistan and shot Malala Yousafzai in the head promising to shoot her again if she survived. The Taliban targeted Malala because she advocates educating females. Although Malala was not the first to have been harmed by the religiously misogynistic, her shooting sent shock waves around the globe. The incident once again proved that the Taliban is more brutal than most.
It seems obvious to me that religious misogyny, whether it comes from the Taliban or from men of faiths other than Islam, is based on misunderstandings and misinterpretations of scripture. These men are furthering their own anti-female agenda, not God’s.
I am not a theologian, but I do have logic. Logic tells me that God could never have meant nor wanted to keep women uneducated and unthinking. Since God created females with the ability to think and learn (just as God created males), then females are supposed to think and learn. It’s that simple.
If you’re not convinced, there’s more logic. God created females as God meant them to be. Unlike man, God doesn’t make mistakes, and certainly doesn’t make mistakes requiring man to rectify them. But man has been known to make a mistake or two. For example, it seems a huge mistake for man to try to undo what God has done, or try to do what God could have done, but chose not to do.
A word of caution to the religiously misogynistic. Hurting, maiming and killing girls, like Malala, for striving to live in accordance with God’s plan is unacceptable in this world, and I posit will be unacceptable in the next. Last I heard, blasphemy is a punishable offense in the hereafter.
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The World English Dictionary defines intolerance as “the lack of respect for … beliefs other than one’s own.” If it can be shown that the beliefs of Muslims, Christians and Jews are similar, then, by definition, they would have no reason to be intolerant toward each other based on religious beliefs. I chose to compare the Ten Commandments, the fundamental law of Jews and Christians governing ethical and moral behavior, with the Qur’an, God’s book of guidance and the central religious text of Islam, to search for similarities.
Although the text of the Commandments is not included in the Qur’an, the Qur’an references the Commandments and admonishes Muslims to follow them. More importantly, words throughout the Qur’an parallel those found in the Commandments as they appear in Exodus 20: 2-17 and Deuteronomy 5: 6-21. For example:
Ten Commandments / Qur’an
- Thou shall have no other gods before me/Know there is no god but God (chapter 47: verse 19);
- Thou shall not take the name of God in vain/Make not God’s name an excuse to your oaths (2:224);
- Thou shall honor they mother and father/Be kind to your parents; address them in terms of honor (17:23);
- Thou shall not kill/If anyone has killed one person it is as if he has killed the whole mankind (5:32); and
- Thou shall not commit adultery/Adultery is an indecent deed and a way for other evils (17:32).
For more similarities, see http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0705-3281 and http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr10cisl.htm.
The similarities are too easy to find and too striking to ignore. Believers of each of the three faiths could logically conclude that both the Qur’an and the Commandments come from a common source – the one God. Maybe we know each other better than we think. There is no chasm to bridge, but merely a gap to step over to dispel the distrust and intolerance on both sides. So, let’s just take the step.
Photo by: atemporelspirit Image courtesy of: http://plancksconstant.org/blog1/2009/11/is_the_quran_based_on_the_bible.html