Egyptian President al-Sisi’s New Year’s Day speech asking how belief in Islam could make Muslim nations “a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction” ought to have triggered a worldwide theological debate amongst Muslims asking where the mechanism for restraining Islamic violence lies, according to Canon Dr. Gavin Ashenden, writing in The Times.
A chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, Ashenden says the “only perceivable response [to Sisi’s speech] was the slaughter in Libya of 21 Copts by ISIS”.
In his article he explores how the Quran, just like the Bible, has passages appearing to exhort violence towards other religions as well as more conciliatory verses.
However, he explains, Jesus, through the Gospels, makes it very easy to understand the priority of loving God as well as looking out for our neighbour.
But he asks “How do Muslims decide which verses and which principles to give precedence to? The chronology of Muhammad’s life provides a key,” he says.