Does the Koran Advocate Violence?

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While some fundamentalist Muslims may declare they follow Muhammad's instructions to "fight the infidels," moderate scholars argue the infidels he was referring to have been dead for 1,300 years.

"'Infidel' in the Koran is not just a noun or an adjective, it is the word that the Koran uses to describe explicitly and exclusively the Meccan aristocracy with which the Muslim community was at war with," explained Dr. Reza Aslan, a Muslim scholar and author of several books on the Middle East.

Father Dan Madigan also pointed out the key passage that follows the "fight the infidels" line that many radical Islamists often ignore or don't know it exists.

"The verse immediately after it says, 'If any of the unbelievers asks you for sanctuary, then take them into your houses so that they might hear the word of God and then let them go on their way,'" he said.

On the other hand, another Muslim scholar stated that of the more than 6,000 verses of the Koran, 109 call for war against enemies of the faith.

Extremists Emphasize Koranic Verses To Recruit New Members

"One of these passages, Chapter 5, Verse 32, explicitly states that if you kill a human being, it is like killing all mankind, except if you are killing that human being as punishment for villainy in the land," said Irshad Manji, a New York University professor and director of the college's Moral Courage Project.

She added, "That clause beginning with the word 'except' is a loophole. It's an escape hatch, and many would-be terrorists pounce on that to justify their violent jihads."

Interviews with alleged Islamic terrorists have shown that many are ignorant about, or choose to ignore, the full teachings of their own faith.

In 2005, Barbara Walters sat down with Jihad Jarrar, a Palestinian serving 22 years in an Israeli prison after a failed suicide bombing attempt.

"God compensates the martyr because he lost his life and lost the world on earth. He compensates him with 72 virgins in paradise," he told Barbara Walters in a 2005 interview.

When Walters asked him where the legend of the 72 virgins came from, Jarrar responded: "No, no. God created them just for the people who are in paradise."

But according to scholars, the Koran makes no mention of a sexual reward for holy martyrs. The idea comes from other texts quoting Muhammad, and there is much debate over what he meant.

"I don't see any evidence in the Koran for the pledge of 72 virgins," Manji said. "This notion of 72 virgins actually comes from a mistranslation with the real translation being 72 raisins. ... I don't know that is the definitive translation, but I do know that virgins is highly debatable."

Modern works can also misconstrue the scripture. Dr. Tawfik Hamid referenced one book in particular called, "Minhaj-al Muslim" or in English, "The Way of a Muslim."

As a teenager in Egypt, Hamid joined a terrorist group headed by 9/11 organizer, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

"Within six to eight months, I became indoctrinated with certain teachings that completely changed me to a very different personality that became ready to kill and die for Allah, to do jihad activity, to dream about dying as a shahid or a martyr," he said, adding that after leaving the group he was asked to kill a police officer.

Bestselling books like "The Way of the Muslim" are often quoted in place of the Koran while brainwashing young recruits, according to Hamid.

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