Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
There is no doubt that groups engaging in the killing of innocent people have seriously undermined the trust many non-Muslims have in the entire Muslim community. Many call for action by Muslims to condemn these acts or to at least speak out against them.
Leaders of Muslim communities are looked to for guidance, and the incidents seem to be occurring on a daily basis somewhere in the world.
If we look at this problem on the global level, the vast majority of victims of these bombings, shootings, etc. are actually Muslims. When innocent people, including Muslims, are killed, people who have no ties with their
country’s military, no ties with any armed group, we see few (if any) public protests or condemnations in countries where non-Muslims are the majority.
Yet when an attack occurs in a majority non-Muslim country (France, Britain, U.S.A., etc) the public outcry, justifiably, is tremendous. If the perpetrator is of a Muslim, or middle eastern heritage, the primary factor
in motivating their actions is Islam. In these cases, his or her religious background is dragged into the picture, despite the fact that the attacker had very little knowledge of Islam, or put very little, if any, into practice in their daily lives.
If the attacker is determined to be a non-Muslim, the primary factor for consideration is usually some type of mental illness or instability. Their religious background is a secondary consideration, even if they profess to be members of a specific religion.
Muslims believe that every soul shall receive what it has earned, regardless of their claims to be doing good or doing God’s work. If a person intentionally practices evil, there is punishment in store for them in this life and in the next, unless they repent to God and try to make amends with those they have wronged.
If a person practices good, there are rewards for them in this life and the next. Islam teaches us to take people as individuals. Whether they are black, white, yellow, male, female, young, old, Jew, Christian, atheist, Muslim, Buddhist.so long as they treat others with dignity and respect, they are worthy of a Muslim’s respect, assistance, praise, friendship, and love.
There will always be people who see violence as a solution to their problems, but the vast majority of people in this world, Muslims included, seek peaceful resolution to disputes and ultimately agree to disagree if no resolution is found.
The role of worldwide corporate media in all of this cannot be overstated. 99.99% of the world’s Muslims, hundreds of millions of them of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds, live peaceful, productive lives with their non-Muslim friends, neighbors and coworkers. But this does not sell. It does not make headlines. It does not attract attention. It does not fit the agenda of war mongers.
Is it reasonable to expect 1.7 billion or so Muslims to constantly apologize for every action of every misguided Muslim who carries out an act of violence against others somewhere in the world?
Also, the amount of killing done in the name of God is not exclusive to Muslims. The Crusades of Europeans that were conducted at the behest of the Catholic Church (the originator of the term “Holy War”) over hundreds of
years resulted in the torture and death of millions of Muslims. Muslims do not constantly throw this into the faces of Europeans and Christians.
Palestinian Muslims have been on the receiving end of brutal occupation and repression for over 60 years at the hands of Israeli’s, but the vast majority of Muslims do not abuse Jews on the streets the way women in Hijab are commonly treated today.
When Muslims are attacked in different parts of the world today, merely because they are Muslim, is this not a religious motivation? Does it matter if the attackers are atheists when their targets are Muslims? Are non-Muslims filling the streets in protest at these occurrences?
We do not expect anyone other than the perpetrators of violent acts against innocent people, to pay for their crimes or to make amends somehow to their victims and their families. That is justice. That is what promotes lasting peace among people.
If there is doubt as to whether something is good or not, Muslims refer to the Quran and the life example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
If you believe that Islam really does promote the abuse of others, seeks the destruction of their societies, hates their freedoms, etc., then I suggest you read the Quran in it’s entirety, or read an objective biography of Prophet Muhammad’s life. Then you will be better able to come to a decision as to whether Islam promotes hatred and violence towards others.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.