Religion and Violence   /   Spring 2004   /    Articles

Speaking, Killing, and Loving in God’s Name

Khaled Abou El Fadl

THE TOPIC I WILL ADDRESS IN THIS ESSAY IS A DIFFICULT one because it is multi-faceted and multi-layered. But it is also difficult because I cannot claim to be distant towards it. I cannot claim to be an objective engager analyzing the topic as if it were a specimen in a lab. For every Muslim who believes in the creed of Islam, the act of speaking on God’s behalf, and consequently, the results of speaking on God’s behalf—whether the results are something akin to love or something akin to violence—are at the heart and core of existence. And, consider- ing the type of political dynamics that are taking place today, perhaps none of us can really maintain distance or objectivity—certainly, not in the way we might have pretended to, just a few years ago.

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