In central Syria, Daesh (“ISIS”) recently destroyed an ancient monastery and a church. This, after abducting several Christians, in what has become the group’s long scourge on humanity. While global Muslim leaders have categorically condemned Daesh, Daesh continues to insist their acts are permitted — even commanded — by Islam.
But if, as Daesh claims, Islam obliges Muslims to raze monasteries, kidnap Christians and rape women, then several questions arise.
For example, how then did an ancient Christian monastery survive this long? Built in 432, or roughly 180 years before Islam’s advent, this monastery withstood nearly 1,500 years of Muslim rule in peace.
Likewise, how did Syria’s 2.3 million Christians, or 10 percent of the Syrian population, survive all these centuries? For centuries, Muhammad and Muslims have practiced a religion foreign to the one Daesh practices.
Contrary to Daesh’s ignorance and propaganda, Prophet Muhammad sought to protect the rights of Christians.
To begin with, the Qur’an 3:114 praises Christians and refers to them as “the People of the Book,” afforded immense respect. The Qur’an 2:63 additionally acknowledges that Christians can and will attain divine reward. Moreover, the Qur’an 22:40-41 explicitly forbids destroying any house of worship, including churches.
Irrespective of what religion people follow, the Qur’an 60:9 commands Muslims to be kind and equitable to all those who do not persecute them and drive them out of their homes on account of their faith. Likewise, the Qur’an 8:61-63 forbids fighting anyone, regardless of faith, who “inclines towards peace.”