‘The Christians owned the land, Muslims came as guests’

The Al-Khoei family are religious Shi’ites in Iraq with a reputation for moderation. Here scholar Jawad-al-Khoei demonstrates his sense of history and how distant Islamism can be from his brand of Islam. From MEMRI: (with thanks:Lily)  

Jawad Al-Khoei: Violence
in our region has its origins here. We are all in the same boat. There
is no difference between Syria, Iraq, and so on. Some of the violence is
the outcome of the injustice of the dictatorships that ruled us.
Poverty, ignorance, deprivation, and oppression all stem from that. Some
of the violence is religious violence. It exploits religion.

 The
birth of ISIS is not an anomaly. ISIS is deeply rooted in Islam. Its
roots can be traced back 1,400 years, to the first century of Islam.
When you read [Islamic] history, you find that people would kill
someone, then exhume the body, cut off his head, and then burn the body.

Hostess: But all nations experienced this kind of violence.

Jawad Al-Khoei: Fine. But violence is a bad thing, and when it dons the cloak of religion, it is a hundred times more evil. 

Hostess: From what you are saying it sounds as if violence is predestined to remain in this region, because it is so deeply rooted.

Jawad Al-Khoei:
No. This depends on our determination, our resolve, and the will of our
rulers. If our rulers really want… I mean, is it really conceivable
that to this day, there is not a single page in the religious curricula
in Iraq about Christianity or about the Yazidi faith?

Hostess: Even though the first Christians were…

Jawad Al-Khoei: They were the owners of this land, and the Muslims came in as their guests.

Read transcript in full

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