ISIS and other extremists ignore the rules of Islam


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Our hearts go out to the victims of the senseless shooting in Orlando by a crazy, hate-filled person claiming allegiance to IS. It is an Islamic belief that, by God's love, grace and mercy, Jews, Christians and others will also be in paradise. May God bless the victims, help their loved ones bear their loss with patience and heal the wounded.
It is evident from the reports of people who knew the shooter intimately, like his ex-wife and co-workers, that this person had serious mental problems for years, drank heavily and frequented gay bars long before IS came into existence. IS, while a source of evil, seems to be just an excuse for this person. 
All human life is sacred and, referring to the story in the Quran of the sons of Adam, killing a person is like killing all humanity, and saving a person is like saving all humanity. Prophet Muhammad prohibited harming an innocent person even on a battlefield, even in the heat of battle. There is punishment in Hell for inflicting pain even on animals. 
While some behaviors are regarded as sins in Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, IS and other extremists ignore the lenient rules of Islam in the Quran, which overrides hadith of dubious origins that invoke biblical punishments. Human nature is complex. Gays exist in Muslim countries, but one does not hear of punishment of gays in countries like Indonesia, or even in Pakistan, large countries with hundreds of millions of Muslims. However, some other Muslim countries have harsher laws, as do some African Christian countries, as did the U.S. just 50 years ago.
The term "Radical Islamic Terrorism" is a misnomer that is bandied about by some without knowing its origins, meaning and implications.
Fareed Zakaria, the Muslim host of the talk show GPS on CNN, claims to have coined the term in a newspaper column right after the terrorist attack of 9/11. However, Zakaria is a journalist, not a theologian or scholar, so he obviously did not understand that the phrase implies that there are multiple versions of Islam, one of which is Radical. Like Judaism and Christianity, there is only one version of Islam, the one established by its prophet and scriptures, while there may be multiple interpretations of a religion, and misinterpretations. Does the existence of White Christian Supremacists mean that there is something called "Radical Christianity"? Does Timothy McVeigh's and American militias' misinterpretation of the Constitution mean that there is a "Radical Constitution" to which radical patriots owe allegiance, not to the Constitution of the United States of America?
It would be accurate to say that there are multiple interpretations of Islam, some liberal, some moderate, some extremist, some radical, some sheer misinterpretations. Hence, it is accurate to say "radical misinterpretations of Islam" and "terrorism based on radical misinterpretations of Islam", while it is inaccurate to say "Radical Islam" or "Radical Islamic Terrorism": there is no such thing as "Radical Islam."
This may seem like a fine point that some may not be capable of distinguishing the difference, or some may be too prejudiced to care, but it behooves those who lead, or desire to lead, the most powerful nation on earth to fully understand the implications of the very significant difference between the two terms. And if they do indeed want solve the problem, they must identify it and name it accurately to even begin to understand it. And we can blame Zakaria for causing all the confusion by his careless use of words that others have adopted without understanding their implications.
As American Muslims, it is our patriotic and religious duty to forbid and prevent evil by all means possible. If we see signs of irrational behavior or extremism, or hear expressions of support for IS, it is our duty to report the person to law-enforcement agencies.
We stand with America against all terrorists and against all acts of terrorism.
Arshad Yousufi is the spokesman for the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs.


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