Desiree Morton (Letters, Forum, Aug. 4) quoted Quran, the holy book of Islam, out of historical and textual context. Out of the three verses quoted by her, the first one has the wrong reference. The next two are from Chapter 9 but have been given out of context.
This chapter of the Holy Quran starts with the mention of the idolaters who persecuted the early Muslims while they were in Mecca. The idolaters murdered Muslims, evicted the Muslims from their homes and confiscated the properties of the Muslims. When Muslims migrated to Abyssinia to flee from their persecution, the idolaters followed the Muslims to Abyssinia to demand the return of Muslims back to idolaters.
It was the just Christian ruler of Abyssinia who refused to give the Muslims up to the idolaters after listening to both sides. When finally, after 13 years of severe persecution, torture and murder, the Muslims found safety in Medina, the idolaters went all the way to Medina and attacked the town to finish the Muslims.
After the defeat of the idolaters by Muslims at Medina, the idolaters attacked Medina again the next year to take the revenge of their defeat. After the speedy spread of Islam, when Muslims had gained strength, the Muslims had every right to avenge the cruelties and murders committed against them, but rather the Muslims were asked to let the idolaters go unharmed if the idolaters gave up persecution of Muslims and made peace.
The verses quoted by Morton ask the Muslims to fight the idolaters bravely only in the case when the idolaters do not make peace and continue their campaign against the Muslims. Morton has neglected the content of the verses right before and after the verse she has quoted. Here are the verses right before and after the verse 5 quoted by her:
“Excepting those of the idolaters with whom you have entered into a treaty and who have not subsequently failed you in anything nor aided anyone against you. So fulfill to these the treaty you have made with them till their term. Surely, Allah loves those who are righteous (9:4).”