Wednesday, February 17, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 95

Mahmoudi on Balls

Staff Editorial

Letters to the Editor

Editorial Cartoon

About the Cougar

Hatred isn't a part of religion -- is it?

Katherine Baroski
Guest Columnist 

Following the advice I gave in my last article, I went in search of idea forums. I wanted to see what sorts of ideas were cropping up around campus. Interestingly enough, I found one immediately.

A flyer asked me in big, bold letters if Islam was abusive toward women, if it condoned terrorism, etc. I sat there looking at this flyer thinking to myself, "Good God! I'm not Islamic, but even I know the answer to that one!"

What answer did I know? Simply this: In no way does Islam teach misogyny or hatred. I've never read the Koran or had in-depth discussions of religion with a Muslim, but I know Islam -- like Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Sikhism -- doesn't teach malice of any kind.

When I was a little girl, the only type of Islam a person heard about on American television was the kind which promoted human rights violations. I was enraged at the sight of wild-eyed men wielding guns and shouting hateful epithets. I saw women swaddled in black robes with their faces hidden.

I was told they were Islamic and that Islam enslaved women and made them the chattel of their men. It was Islam's supposed treatment of women that angered me the most. I gathered up all my indignant, naive rage and decided I hated Islam, especially Islamic men.

Christians don't act like that, I thought. Jewish and Buddhist men don't act like that. Then of course, I grew up.

I learned a few things. I learned about widespread atrocities committed by Christians in the name of God. Other religions, Christianity included, committed the same egregious acts toward women that Islam was accused of. I quickly learned that not every abused woman wore a veil, and not every veiled woman was abused. The world became a lot more complicated than before.

Terrorism also exists in many other religions. Tune into The Jerry Springer Show someday and you will see for yourself the hatred that exists when people take religion out of context.

It is not the teachings of Mohammed that instruct people to hurt women and plant bombs on planes. That is done by people who have perverted religious ideas. Many people who hate religion hate it because they feel religion, of whatever brand, preaches intolerance and violence.

I know religion doesn't teach any of those things. People who use religion as a weapon are the ones who give all religions a bad name. People who claim on national TV that Jesus hates homosexuals, or whatever that ignorant argument is, are destroying the very religion they claim to love so much. They can take whatever baggage they have and find something to confirm their beliefs.

The Bible is especially prone to being misquoted and misinterpreted. I'm sure the Koran is equally susceptible.

If there were people, who, for whatever reason, decided that women were to be chattel, they had that idea long before Mohammed came on the scene.

It is a deplorable state of affairs. That is why I stay out of religion; not because I think the religions themselves are necessarily bad, but because it is difficult to impossible to find anyone with pure beliefs, unclouded by his or her own prejudices.

Anything that involves human beings is bound to be a shaky affair.

Baroski, a sophomore creative writing major, 
can be reached at

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