Quite often, criticism of the Quran is accused of being contextually incorrect, its detractors charged with cherry-picking quotes in efforts to demonize Muslims. Below is one of those oft-quoted blurbs that Islamic apologists insist is just another of the Quran's messages where the "peaceful" meaning escapes Western critics.
Observe the Quran, Sura 9, verse 123:
O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous.
If there is a message of "peace" in the passage, I certainly cannot discern it, and find it completely understandable that such a conclusion might also elude other Western critics. While it may be true that millions of Westernized or more civilized practitioners of Islam are able to extraordinarily find the meaning of this passage to be something other than what it clearly states, and though some translations imbue the verse with a more defensive tone, it would be dangerous and foolish to discount or ignore the fact that the Islamic fundamentalist interprets this verse quite literally. The Islamic fundamentalist believes the infallible words on the pages of the Quran: no more, no less.
The death of eleven year-old Yoav Fogel and his family illuminates just how literally some Muslim neighbors of Israel take the above passage. As a Jew living in the West Bank, poor Yoav belonged to the ill-fated category of "adjacent disbelievers." In strict observance to the instruction of the Islamic holy book, "one or two" terrorists infiltrated the settlement of Itamar, entered his home, and brutally butchered Yoav, along with his mother, father, four year old brother, and three month old baby sister.
The responders to the scene were the first to see the profound context of Yoav's death. They entered the "blood-drenched" room and gazed upon the wall to see a symbol of both his innocence and the love he was brought to believe by his Jewish faith, which so painfully contrasts with the murderous fiends whose faith in Islam could lead them to slaughter an innocent young boy and his family.
A wooden plaque on Yoav's wall reads:
May it be Your will, Lord God and God of our forefathers,
That I love every one of Israel as myself, and
To graciously perform the positive commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself.
May it also be Your will, Lord God and God of my forefathers,
That you cause the hearts of my friends and neighbors to love me fervently, and
That I be accepted and desirable to everyone, and
That I be loving and pleasant, and
That I be gracious and merciful in the eyes of all who see me.
I have no doubt that we Westerners, bound by our unclaimed sensibilities suspiciously similar to those of Christianity, are universally aghast by this horrible tragedy. But in setting Yoav Fogel's message of tolerance and love against the hateful doctrine his murderers follow, those of us unfettered by the chains of political correctness cannot help but wonder: how can Islamic apologists in the West not see the distinction of right and wrong in the current Middle Eastern conflict surrounding Israel?