• "Yes, Thameen, I hate Islam because it is in direct conflict with my religion"
  • "A day will come when we will slaughter the people of Denmark and smash their heads"

These two comments are just a sample of what I have been seeing and receiving in my email and on the net for a long time, but recently I became more and more aware of the amount and depth of hate that is directly associated with religious motives.

The first remark I got while I was discussing Islam's stand of certain issues with a 'nice' Christian woman from Colorado who runs an active blog . I do not usually dive into religious dialogues, but in her post she stained the Muslim culture as 'a culture that stones women' and other typical stuff that you will expect from a conservative from Colorado. But her being a nice woman with a nice blog I responded to her trying to urge her to be more open to the diversity and beautiful aspects of the Muslim experience. At one point in our discussion she was honest enough to declare her true feelings: 'Yes I hate Islam because it is in direct conflict with my religion". You can see my correspondence with her here 1 and 2 and 3

The other statement above I received in an email from a relative who is also a 'nice' Muslim woman. The email contained a poster allegedly depicting a LEGO toy showing the Prophet in a humiliating posture, the poster claims the toy to be made in Denmark. Though it is clear that this poster is fake, the email contained a prayer to "slaughter all the Danes and smash their heads". I politely responded to her that she should not be propagating hate on the internet. That was not a confused teenager but a mature educated professional person.

But as I think about these incidents and the whole multitude of what is going around us I wonder about this amount of hate that is being nurtured within religious feelings. All religious people of all religions will tell you that religion is basically about love and understanding, but this does not seem to be the case nowadays. It seems to me that many 'religious' people are giving themselves a lot of liberty in producing hate and distributing it. This is a very disappointing thing, and dangerous too. This hate is translated at many times into cruel actions and insane policies.

I think hate is a form of human failure. Hate is the fruit of fear and ignorance. It is not a comfortable thing to hate, so people who harbor hate tend to find conduits for it and thus you see people hating in the name of ideal things. Some hate in the name of religion, some in the name of pure race, others in the name of liberty. Whatever the conduit one chooses for nurturing hate, it can not beautify or legitimize hate, it can only ruin the conduit.

Hate lives in the dark corners of the human soul where it grows into a powerful monster that can lead humans into the most cruel acts and into adopting the most unjust positions. It is only thought light that hate can be eradicated from the corners of our soul. The light of knowledge, of reason and opining our minds and hearts to understanding the others. It is the powerful light of faith, the faith in an all loving God.
NB. After posting this piece I read in the news that the Pope has just made a statement in which he asked that religion should not be used as a pretext for hate. I’m thinking of suing the Pope on copyright grounds :)