"But instead, He is testing you by means of what he has revealed to you," Kaskas said. "We will all return to God and clarify these matters by which you have differed. This is in chapter 5, verse 48. In the verse, God is saying if you have differences — for instance, Christians believe Jesus is God's incarnate and He came here to Earth to give ransom to our sins — that's fine. That's [the Christians'] business. As a Muslim, I believe that I am responsible for my own sins. If I want to reconcile with God, all I have to do is get down on my knees and ask Him for forgiveness."
While much is made about the concept of jihad in today's socioreligious conversation, Kaskas said the notion that the Quran calls on Muslims to spread jihad through the senseless and heinous killing of innocent non-Muslims is not correct.
"There is a huge difference between when the Muslims started a small state in the city of Medina and they were trying to defend themselves and the Quran was directing them to defend themselves as a community," Kaskas said.
"Today, fighting against enemies of Islam is not up to a particular person. War is organized. We have in the Muslim world states that have presidents and parliaments, and those don't move at the whims of somebody who thought he needed to fight or take matters in his own hands and think that he is personally ordered to conduct war against anybody."
Kaskas added that the call for all Muslims to participate in jihad is a call for them to deal with their own inner struggles and inner demons and strive for good.
"Our [Islamic] prophet Muhammad is quoted to say after coming back from a battle to defend his young state, 'We came from a smaller jihad to the larger jihad.' He meant the larger jihad is the struggle against one's own ego and own wills," Kaskas said. "To control one's ego is to control the greatest struggle. If this is misunderstood or if people use it for their own purposes, that is their purpose [not God's]."
As The Qur'an — With References to the Bible has over 3,250 biblical references, Kaskas' goal is not to show that the Bible and Quran are the same but rather that they have some similar concepts.
One example is how both the Quran and the Bible reveal God as being merciful and gracious. While many verses in the Bible (such as Psalm 145:8) point to God's mercy, Kaskas told CP that the Quran also lays out in the beginning of the text how merciful God is.
'In the name of God, the merciful to all, the mercy giver, praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds, the merciful to all, the mercy giver, master of the day of judgement, it is you we worship and it is you that we seek," the translation states.
Kaskas was also asked to comment on quranic verses that many critics of Islam point to as being calls for Muslims to violently persecute non-believers. Most notably is verse 9:5, which states: "And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is forgiving and merciful."
"Among the most often cited verses is 9:5. Before giving the permission to slay the unbelievers, the Quran made it clear to comply with the peace treaty with those who are willing to uphold it," Kaskas explained. "The verses that come immediately before 9:5 state, 'Those with whom you have treaties are immune from attack.' It further states, 'Fulfill your treaties with them to the end of their term, for God loves the conscientious.' Now, in its proper context, verse 9:5 can be properly understood."
"It must be remembered, however, that initiatives for all peace treaties were made from the Muslim side, as war was not seen as an objective of Islam," Kaskas asserted.