Quran passages or Bible verses? People react negatively — and then learn the truth.

You've probably noticed that anti-Muslim sentiments have become more common and more blatant recently.

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris by ISIS (or, if you like, Daesh) extremists and the mass shooting in San Bernardino by two people who claimed to be Muslim, a lot of Americans are allowing their thinking to be replaced by fear. Some people are even reacting violently.

Others are working hard to find justification for their beliefs — even if they're not acting out.

One of the things I've noticed is that in support of anti-Muslim comments, many people keep offering up quotes from the Quran.


Image by Metropolico.org/flickr.

They do that as justification for their belief that Islam is founded on violence and that the religion teaches its followers to act violently — and as such, we should be worried that any Muslim could be a violent terrorist. I've also seen several people refer to the marriage of very young girls as being in the Quran — as justification that Islam is just incompatible with Western ways of life.

I mean ... sigh.

I think most rational people know better. But for those who don't, some folks carried out a little experiment to make a point.

They took a Bible and wrapped it in a different cover, making it appear to be a Quran.

All following GIFs and images by Dit Is Normaal, a group based in the Netherlands. The video is in Dutch and subtitled in English.

Then they found some passages that aren't exactly compatible with the way most Westerners live these days.

Passages like:

"A woman should live in quietness and full submission."

"If you reject my commands and abhor my laws, you will eat the flesh of your own sons. And your own daughters."

"I don't allow for a woman to teach. You will have to cut off her hand. Do not forgive her."

"If two men sleep with each other, they will both have to be killed."

When the interviewers asked passersby what they thought of those passages, they were honest.

Believing they were being read passages from the Quran, people reacted with surprise, disgust, and negativity.

The interviewers also asked how the Quran compared to the Bible.

That's when the interviewers let the folks in on what we knew all along: These aren't teachings of the Quran.

They're Bible verses.

Everyone was visibly surprised.

The lesson, of course, is that we need to step back and look at what we're doing here.

This guy gets it:

The best part of this video is that the folks were willing to acknowledge their biases.

Nobody got defensive or angry. They realized what happened.

Information comes at us from many directions and is often framed in a way that influences our thinking. This woman sums things right up:

And so does this man. We need to step back and think it through.

Religions adapt and change with the times.

The Quran, like the Bible, is very old. Muslims don't follow every last word verbatim, just as Christians don't follow every last word in the Bible verbatim. That's ridiculous.

We need to stop applying a double standard.

If we're going to assume that radicals who commit terrorism in the name of Islam are representative of Muslims, we must do the same with radicals who commit terrorism and proclaim to be Christians.

I think we all know better — the Planned Parenthood shooter doesn't represent the great majority of Christians, nor do the San Bernardino shooters represent the great majority of Muslims.

Let's keeps our fears in check and remember that Muslims are peaceful people. They want to raise their families and enjoy their lives and have the same opportunities as anyone else. It's pretty simple.

You can watch the full video here. It's worth it to see how the biases that people probably don't even realize they have influence their thoughts:

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

SK-II

"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

SK-II

"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

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"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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