A response to those who try to equate Islam with Christianity

We cannot treat equally two religions that say things as different as these

Once again, Islamist terrorism brings to the table an uncomfortable issue for those who mistakenly consider that all religions are the same.

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This week, Islamic extremists have murdered a person in Algeciras (Spain) and to seven people in Jerusalem (Israel). It coincides that the first crime was carried out in the context of several attacks on Catholic churches, while the second was carried out in an attack on a Jewish synagogue. Once again, and taking into account the numerous precedents of terrorist attacks committed by Islamists, it is worth asking: Are these crimes carried out following the precepts of Islam or contradicting them?

When answering that question, I think we have to start from the premise that being a Muslim does not make anyone a bad person. I am convinced that the vast majority of Muslims are people who have not the slightest intention of harming anyone. In fact, many of the attacks of Islamist terrorism are directed against Muslims themselves in countries with an Islamic majority. Islamic extremism often manifests an outrageous hatred towards other branches of Islam itself. Nor do I forget that in Spain and in Israel there are Muslims serving their Homeland in the Armed Forces, and they do so out of respect for people who profess other beliefs.

I am not writing these lines to judge all Muslims equally, because it would be a great injustice. People must be valued for their actions, and if a Muslim leads a decent life and does good deeds, he does not deserve to be singled out by the evil deeds of others.

My purpose is not to judge the good people who profess Islam, in different ways, but to value Islam itself and whether it deserves the comparison that some make between it and other religions. Undoubtedly, throughout history, many have committed all kinds of atrocities in the name of God and also in the name of Freedom and in the name of atheism, and that does not mean that being a believer, loving Freedom or being an atheist will make you an atheist. criminal. The key question is: does your religion or your ideology lead you to favor coexistence with other people, or is it the opposite? This is the question that some seem to forget when assessing religions and ideologies.

Obviously, an ideology that promotes hatred and violence towards others and that ends up unleashing massacres -as has happened with communism and national-socialism- is not the same as an ideology that defends freedom, peace and tolerance. And the same can be said of religions.

In the Holy Quran, which is a book Written in an imperative tone, Sura 9:29 says the following in reference to Christians and Jews:

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, nor comply with what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth from among those who were given the Scripture,1 until they pay the tax, willingly submitting, fully humbled."

On the contrary, in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (5, 43-48) the following words of Jesus Christ are read:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, 30 just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Thus, there is a religion that calls for fighting those who do not believe in Allah, and there is another religion that calls for loving our enemies, even those who persecute us. When a Muslim devotes himself to fighting people of other religions he can find justification in his holy book. A Christian who hates another person, even if it is an enemy, is failing to comply with a mandate of Christ himself. No matter how some may be, no, not all religions are the same or comparable, and we should now abandon the fiction that they are.

Of course,every believer has the right to exercise their religious freedom, whatever their beliefs, but this does not mean that all religions are equal, in the same way that freedom of speech does not mean that all opinions are the same. That this freedom exists does not prevent me from affirming that certain ideologies are based on errors, and the same can be said of certain religions, including Islam, judging by what the Koran says.

The most alarming thing is that saying this about Christianity is common and does not entail any kind of violence, but today, in Europe, the mere fact of subjecting Islam to criticism is becoming a risky practice because of the intolerance and violence of many followers of that religion.

On the other hand, I think it is necessary to remember that only 11 days ago we learned of a report stating that Christians are suffering high or extreme levels of persecution in 36 Islamic countries, including some allegedly "moderate" such as Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.

In various European countries there are already significant percentages of immigrants from some of these Islamic countries, and with them the intolerance that Christians suffer in those countries is being transferred to Europe. Here in the West, Muslims have full freedom to practice their religion, which is not the case with Christians in Islamic countries. Muslims residing in Europe should be the first to demand for Christians and Jews in the Islamic countries the respect and freedom they demand for themselves in Europe.

In this sense, it is high time to point out that the problem facing Europe is not "Islamophobia", but Islamic extremism. Islamophobia has not caused terrorist massacres like the one on September 11, 2001 in the United States, that of March 11, 2004 in Madrid or that of July 7, 2005 in London. They were Islamists. If Islam does not strive to correct its errors and moderate itself, what kind of respect is it asking of us?

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Photo: Reuters.

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