We can predict Bill Maher will say about the murder of 12 Charlie Hebdo staffers in Paris earlier today by Islamic wackjobs. And we can guess what Ben Affleck will say if asked (“This is no reason to condemn a billion peace-loving Muslims” or something along those lines). But the people who did this are tyrannical monsters, and you’d have to resort to extremely myopic thinking to not lay the inspiration for murders avenging the honor of Islam to the Quran. “The only religion that acts like the mafia, [that] says we will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing or draw the wrong cartoon” — Maher. Jihadists and Islamists are arguably 20% of the Muslim world. But let’s not be harsh or dismissive or…you know, indulge in Islamophobia.
From a website called The Religion of Peace:
Question: Does the Quran really contain dozens of verses promoting violence?
Summary Answer: The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.
Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.
The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God, however this can work both ways. Most of today’s Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book’s call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence. Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.
Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed. Muhammad’s own martial legacy – and that of his companions – along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Quran have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.