Last July James Holmes shot 70 people. 58 were injured, the other 12 fatally wounded. There were reports that when he appeared in court, he faked being mentally unstable in order to plea insanity. Now it has been confirmed that he has converted to Islam. He is using his new faith to justify his killings as “jihad”. Jihad is defined as “struggle.” Every Muslim will have their faith tested at some point in their life. As with any religion, not everyone passes this test. But killing people is NOT a form of jihad. Islam does not condone violence. In Islam, if you kill one person it is as bad as killing the entire world.
As a Muslim, I am angered and disgusted by this news. I didn’t want to believe it when my mom mentioned his name at the dinner table, and I immediately looked it up on my phone, hoping I could prove her wrong. But she was right. James Holmes supposedly prays five times a day, reads from the Quran, and only eats halal foods.
My dad always told me that Allah (SWT) has not meant for everyone to convert to Islam. Some people just don’t have that faith in them by design. But, if you are lucky enough to be inspired by the faith and convert, it is all Allah’s will. And you are even luckier if you were born Muslim. Allah saves who He wants to save, and if He inspired this man to convert, then all of his sins have been washed away. Maybe Allah has forgiven him. I know that that’s a hard concept to grasp, but Allah is the most forgiving, merciful being in the universe. And sometimes, because we are so much smaller and less powerful and less knowledgeable, we don’t always understand why He does things, but He does everything for a reason.
But the cynical pessimist in me hopes He has not forgiven him. If this man can fake a mental disorder, then why can’t he be faking his faith? Maybe he is just trying to make things worse for Muslims. Also, I’d like to know if he is following real, peaceful, true Islam, or if he is following the terrorists and extremists. Because those people are not true Muslims. Chances are that he his following the latter. Somehow this makes me feel better and worse at the same time. I feel better knowing that I do not share the same faith and beliefs as the man who killed eight men and four women. I feel better knowing that he will be punished for his sins. But at the same time, I feel horrible because I know that when others read the headlines, they will not distinguish between Islam and Extremism/Terrorism. We have enough villains representing our religion without our consent. We don’t need one more.