The Bible says of Ishmael, the ancestor of the Arab people:
“He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen” (Genesis 16:12).
We are constantly fed a fiction today concerning an issue that is growing larger and larger: Islam is a religion of peace, which a relative few crazed fanatics are trying to subvert. The problem with this view is that it is a fiction. The Muslims who support acts of religious violence against infidels (unbelievers) to their religion have a far stronger case to offer from the Koran and from the Hadith than do those Muslims who wish to have peace with the West.
The most terrifying problem of all is that the jihadists/terrorists are interpreting their Korans and their Islamic traditions more accurately than the Muslim contextualizers who are trying to make their religion compatible with Western values. Why? Because if the above is true, the problem becomes Islam itself, rather than a “few” (a few who nevertheless amount to tens of millions) “nutjobs.”
It is obvious why we would prefer the “few nutjobs” theory to be true, rather than the theory that Islam is a militant religion bent on conversion and expansion by force. Who wouldn’t rather the former be true? And yet it is also obvious why it is important to see the world as it really is, rather than merely as we wish it would be.
We are constantly told that Islam is a religion of peace. It is not, and never has been; it is a religion of submission. And problems arise whenever people in the Islamic sphere do not submit: Women are oppressed. Religious freedom is totally denied. Anyone converting from Islam is killed. We are also constantly told that Mohammad the Prophet of Islam was a man of peace; but history shows the exact opposite.
Mohammad was a man of violence who committed acts of genocide. Most historians say that Mohammad led at least 27 military campaigns before his death in 632. Many Muslims claim that the number was actually far higher – as many as 80. And Mohammad had dozens more military campaigns planned at the time of his death. Mohammad was a man of violence, a man who seized caravans and killed all the men, and enslaved all the women and children. The Koran records his words to that effect: “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. …And slay them wherever ye catch them….”
As you read the above words from Mohammad, realize that the Koran and Islamic tradition are quite clear that the Prophet is the supreme example of behavior for Muslims to follow.
Mohammad’s life can be divided into two phases: the Mecca phase and the Medina phase. During the Mecca phase, Mohammad was greatly outnumbered and militarily weaker than his opponents. We see his calls for peace during this phase. But he left Mecca and subsequently grew strong in Medina – strong enough to ultimately seize Mecca by force. During this phase, we find the increasingly violent calls to subdue the infidel by any means necessary. This second and later phase has set the standard for Islam.
You do not find peace in Mohammad, or the religion which he founded.
You DO find it in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth and Christianity as being lived out as Jesus lived. Unlike the paradigm of Mohammad, no one professing to be a Christian can credibly argue that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, taught violence, or anything that contradicted His precepts that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword (Matthew 26:52).
One hundred years after the death of Jesus, Christians were – and had been – dying as martyrs by the hundreds of thousands under some of the cruelest and most vicious persecutions the world has ever seen under the Roman emperors. They sealed their testimony in their blood, proving their faith in Christ Jesus with their deaths, just as the Apostles had done with their deaths by martyrdom before them.
One hundred years after the death of Mohammad Muslim conquerors had long since set out with the scimitar. They had poured across Arabia, poured across Africa, with violence in their hearts. Christian communities in Africa and then Spain were eradicated. And a vast Muslim army poured all the way across Europe killing and plundering, only to finally be stopped by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours near Poitiers in France.
Christians are frequently confronted with their crimes during the Crusades. What is largely ignored are the four centuries of unrelenting Islamic violence that preceded the Crusades, or that the Crusades began when the Christian emperor of the Christian Byzantine Empire at Constantinople called upon the Pope for aid to protect the empire from the threat posed by an attacking Islam.
This is not to say that self-professing Christians didn’t commit many evils during the Crusades, or during other times. I merely point out that Islam had a long-standing tradition of continual violence that Christendom ultimately had to respond to. Just as Western civilization needs to respond to the violence posed by Islam today. Christians today – partly because of the Crusades – realize that there is no “Kingdom of Heaven” on earth; and the Christian’s ultimate kingdom is with Christ in heaven, rather than some geographical location at Jerusalem or any other place on earth. We were wrong for believing we needed to go to war to claim Jerusalem for Christendom.
Allow me to contrast the Christian view of territory with the Islamic one:
According to the Muslim way of thinking, the world is divided into two areas: Dar al-Islam is the area already conquered by Islam. Dar al-Harb is the area of war, which the Arabs are commanded to conquer until it is turned into Muslim territory. After a certain territory has been conquered by Islam, it is declared as holy Muslim territory, which is forbidden to be relinquished under any circumstances.
[See here for more].
We need to face up to many theological and historical issues within Islam itself in order to come to some understanding as to how to begin to solve the obviously growing problem of violence.
Robert Spencer put it this way:
“If Mohammad taught violence, if Mohammad taught a doctrine of required holy war against infidels, if Mohammad conflated religion and government it will change mujahedin around the world not one bit to pretend otherwise; they will continue to invoke what they believe to be his authentic teachings in order to justify their actions. The fact that truths are difficult is no reason to choose unreality and ‘polite fictions.’”
I would agree with any Muslim who says that terrorism is not an essential part of Islam. Of course it isn’t. As human beings, we are not automatons, we are free-willed human beings who make our own choices – and who are held responsible for the choices we make.
But I would also confront any Muslim who wants to see true peace with the rest of the world to account for the fact that virtually all of the hundreds of thousands of violent terrorist acts in the world resulted from Islamic theology, by men who screamed “Allahu Akbar!” as they murdered.
And I would confront Muslims to quit blaming the existence of Israel for violence and finally look at themselves instead. Many Muslims demand that the Jews surrender the land that they “stole” from Palestinians. I disagree that the Jews did any such thing, but let me agree with the premise for the sake of argument. Fine. Let every Muslim first surrender every square inch of land that Islam has seized, just to show that they are not hypocrites who demand standards from others that they would never be willing to put upon themselves.
And I would similarly point out that Jews have not been the source of violence and death in the Muslim world. The fact is rather that:
“some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the sixty years of fighting Israel, or just 1 out of every 315 Muslim fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.”
Today, tens of millions of Muslims live in fear of criticizing their fellow Muslims who are willing to employ violent jihad for fear that they will become the next victims of such Muslim violence.
And herein lies the rub. If only a few “nutjobs” are “highjacking” (actually a very good word indeed given that we are talking about terrorism) a good and noble and peaceful religion, then let the hundreds of millions of Muslims who do not support the use of terrorism rise up as one man and deal with the clearly-growing crisis of violence that has been growing for decades inside their very own house. Rather than standing by on the sidelines in fear and apathy, if you moderate Muslims REALLY speak for “true Islam,” then please finally stand up and DO so. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.
Don’t allow armed murderers to hide themselves among you, only to kill and murder before concealing themselves once more among you, and then claim that you aren’t responsible. You moderate Muslims ARE responsible for what is happening all around you.
Islam is and will continue to be a religion of terrorist violence unless you moderate Muslims stand up and make it something different.
It’s time to take a side between “Islam, the religion of violence,” and “Islam, the religion of peace.”
Christians, Jews, and Muslims actually can stand in agreement on a great many things. While we clearly disagree on the nature of God and His revelation, we nevertheless are people who believe in God and believe in divine revelation. And therefore we agree that there are objective transcendent moral values. There are a great many things we could agree upon, if we put our minds and our hearts to it.
Selected passages from the Koran detailing the fundamental intolerance and violence endemic to Islam:
Quran 9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”
9:112 “The Believers fight in Allah’s cause; they slay and are slain, kill and are killed.”
8:39 “So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world).”
8:65 “O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding.”
61:2 “O Muslims, why say one thing and do another? Grievously odious and hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not. Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in a battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.”
9:38 “Believers, what is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth and fight in Allah’s Cause you cling to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? Unless you go forth, He will afflict and punish you with a painful doom, and put others in your place.”
47:4 “When you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in battle (fighting Jihad in Allah’s Cause), smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them. At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind them firmly, making (them) captives. Thereafter either generosity or ransom (them based upon what benefits Islam) until the war lays down its burdens. Thus are you commanded by Allah to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam.”