I was motivated to post the text of my article onto the internet — hence the creation of this small website — after being very disturbed by two things:
The first was the misinformation spread by a Florida pastor, Terry Jones, and his supporters. Jones had announced what he called a “Burn a Koran Day"; an event which was necessary, he claimed, because the Qur’an should be exposed as an inherently violent book. Clearly I disagree with him. I do not believe any books should be burned (that’s a Nazi tactic) and my reading of the Qur’an convinces me that it advocates tolerance, forbearance, inclusiveness and peace.
Secondly, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing firsthand the intimidating and hate-motivated impact of an English Defence League “protest” in Leicester on 9 October 2010. I oppose all racism and religious intolerance and was upset by the evident anger and the placards and flyers that accused Muslims of violent tendencies. It was awful and reminded me of a brownshirt anti-Jewish protest in the 1930s.
I do not favour censorship or bans and I would not deny the pastor or the English Defence League their right peacefully to express views, but I felt motivated to try to offer a countering view based on a reasonable reading and weighing of evidence. I therefore hope my article will be a useful starting point for anyone who is interested in what, in my judgement, the Qur’an does say about war and violence.
— Joel Hayward