Islam is a religion of peace”; “Islam has nothing to do with it”’; and “terrorists have no religion”.

Not that one wants to target one religion, but let’s just take one religion as an example. Primarily because ‘one’ has not studied other religions (but has read enough about them to know that hatred, bigotry, violence, peace, love and brotherhood is common to all of them).

Much insightful material has been written about the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris, most of it containing some sense and some nonsense. But some of the most empathetic thoughts and writings focus on the fact that the majority of the nearly two billion Muslims in this world are not terrorists or extremists as evidence of the fact that Islam, per se, is not violent or extremist.

These thoughts and writings, though well-intentioned, deflect from the fact that all religions, more or less, can be extremist and violent. All religions preach hate as well as love; preach both peace and violence.

However, it is Islam that is at the center of controversy at this moment in time, unfortunately. And hence it must be analyzed honestly to examine whether there really is a connection between the religion itself and ‘Islamist terrorism’. Moderate, peaceful Muslims owe it to themselves and to the world to give it a little more thought than what their usual comfort zones allow.

Why is it that moderate Muslims only quote the peace-loving Ahadees and Ayats to prove to the world that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’? Why do they completely ignore the troublesome Ahadees and Ayat that inspire violent extremism? Why are the well meaning Westerners (whom I love for trying to bridge humanity) so incognizant of the nuances that drive conflicts?

I do not wish to single out or attack Islam. But it’s the only religion I have read a few texts of, simply because I was born to Muslim parents. I am told there is enough vile text and preaching in other religions too. But the fact that I am familiar with Islam at least allows me to confront the blatant denial of my liberal comrades.

When they say, ‘Islam has nothing to do with this,’ how do they explain certain instructively violent verses of the Quran? What about the oft quoted Ahadees the TTP uses for killing our children. How does Islam have no connection with what is going on in the world at large, and particularly and tragically going on in my country right now?

How, by the way, do they explain innocent people being ordained to be killed for the crime of others as prescribed in the Quran itself? Some verses, though entirely in line with, and therefore justifiable in a dated concept, instruct men to kill innocent slaves or women of the enemy - if their own slaves or women have been killed by the enemy – a visceral response. Now, for the intellectual minds this may represent the zenith of modernity in the medieval setting of the 7th century Arabia. But when it is practiced, followed and apologized for in this day and age, it is a problem.

How do the modern, moderate, normal, everyday Muslims not confront or challenge the hate and violence propagated by their own religious texts? How do the best of the best proclaim that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’? When was any religion a religion of peace? When was belief ever superior to logic? When did we liberals become such big liars?

Denial is not good enough, dear comrades. Gentle, conciliatory interpretations are not good enough either. We need to call a spade a spade; call viciousness by its name; identify the beliefs that fuel terrorists’ actions. Till we do that, we will remain a nation lost.

The writer is a human rights worker and freelance columnist. She can be contacted at gulnbukhari@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter