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Terrorism, unjustified violence and the killing of non-combatant civilians (or even intimidating, threatening or injuring them) are all absolutely forbidden in Islam. Islam is a way of life that is meant to bring peace to a society whether its people are Muslim or not. The extreme actions of those who claim to be Muslim may be a result of their ignorance, frustration, uncontrolled anger or political (not religious) ambitions. Anyone who condones or commits an act of terrorism in the name of Islam is simply not following Islam and is, in fact, violating its very tenets. These people are individuals with their own personal views and agendas. Fanatical Muslims are no more representative of the true teachings of Islam than fanatical Christians are of the true teachings of Christianity or fanatical Jews are of the true teachings of Judaism. The most prominent examples of such “religious” fanatics are Anders Behring Breivik, the 2011 Norwegian terrorist who claimed in his manifesto to be “100 percent Christian” and Baruch Goldstein, perpetrator of the 1994 Hebron massacre who is considered by some Jews to be a “hero” and a “saint”. Extremism and fanaticism are problems not exclusive to Muslims. Anyone who thinks that all Muslims are terrorists should note that terror groups like ISIS (or ISIL), Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram kill Muslims as well. Also, the former boxer Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most celebrated person of our era, is a practicing Muslim.

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