December 19, 2006
A religious expert from Indonesia on Sunday said many highly-educated people have been deceived by the call for "jihad" (holy war) and have joined militant groups because of their misinterpretation of the Quran.
Dr M. Syafi'i Anwar, from the International Centre for Islam and Pluralism, said the word "jihad" in the Quran meant determination and working hard although there were some verses which linked the word to war.
"(But) these clever people failed to understand the (meaning of the) holy war in the context of the verses (contained in the Quran) and its history.
"Religion does not want us to either commit suicide or kill innocent people.
It is a great sin," he said after an Intra Muslim Roundable Dialogue organised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the Frederich Nauman Stiftung Foundation, here.
He said this when asked for his opinion on Muslims joining militant groups like "Kumpulan Militan Malaysia" and Taufik Abdul Halim, a highly-educated militant responsible for the bombings at the Atrium Complex in Jakarta several years ago.
Syafi'i said he regretted the action of the Imam Samudera, an Indonesian militant linked to Al Qaeda, for allowing the killing of innocent people.
"Samudera is not God. How can he allow such killings when the Quran says we cannot kill women and children?" he added.
He said the situation came about because these groups of people failed to interpret the Quran correctly.- Bernama