There I Am Among Them, A WNCT Roundtable on Faith is a special 6 part series that takes a look at the hot topics of the day, viewed through the lens of faith.
A panel of 6 faith leaders from different sides on the religious spectrum shared their opinions and insight.
9 On Your Side gathered them together at the Greenville Museum of Art.
Explosions. Suicide bombings. Hate crimes. There is violence all over the world. And most assume religion is behind it all.
But research suggests the opposite is true. In the largest global study of its kind covering 131 countries, Gallup found it's not religion that causes most violence. It's intellect, human development, and government.
And this piece is on exactly that.
“Let’s just talk about what we see in the news every day, you know, a lot going on in the Middle East right now, happens here, hate crime is a real thing. Violence based on religion,” host Jeff Varner announced.
“There is no religion to my knowledge that promotes the violence. It is the people that actually do that. There are people, there are extremists in every religion. But I have to say that when it comes to the Islam, then I think it is blamed to Islam, it should not be done,” proposed Dr. Saeed Dar.
“When you go back to the disputes in Northern Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants, so it’s not just Muslims. You dissect the problem. It’s unhealthy nationalism. Some of it on the verge of Nazism of 60-80 years ago,” Father Bill Quigley pointed out.
“There is no basis for Islam to really promote the violence. The word Jihad is being misinterpreted. Jihad means you take a gun and kill anyone who is not a Muslim. It’s not true. There’s a code in Quran that if you kill one innocent person, it’s as if you have killed all of humanity. And if you save one life, you save humanity,” explained Dar.
“I think it would be helpful if the Islam educated the rest of us what the Quran says and what the morals are in Islamic society, because we immediately go with the news media and therefore we blame, we point,“ Quigley agreed.
“So, if we don’t blame the faith (right, right), but we blame that particular person who has committed something, then I think we’ll make the thing clear. But the media is using the stereotyping, you know, that all Muslims are like that,” suggested Dar.
“How does it make you feel to have a society that feels like every Muslim is a terrorist,” Varner asked.
“It’s very uncomfortable. Every time there is some kind of event in this country we are holding our breath. My God, what happened here? Who will be the person? Muslims are on the defensive, you know,” explained Dar.
“The Christians, back before there were Catholic Protestants, we had the crusades. Well, what was right? And all of Europe and the Christian leaders, you know, they went to defend what they thought was right at the time. With the economics and the nationalism and the prejudices, and the unknown. And the unknown feeds the prejudices more than anything else. And that’s why, if you have Islam’s educate the rest of us, that exactly what you said, so we can be more respectful of your holy book and your holy ways and not to immediately point fingers and tag them as wrong, “ reasoned Quigley.
“Pope Francis himself said, "Violence and faith are incompatible,” which is a powerful statement,” Varner commented.
“The use of violence when I disagree with what I see is somewhat acceptable. At least it’s been raised that this is how you respond to what you disagree with and all of our holy books would say, you can’t do that. That is not acceptable. That is not what God wants,” Quigley said.