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Islam and Peace: Two Compatible Concepts? - Part I

By: Adity Sharma
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"In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful."

As Muhammad became disillusioned from the strife between the Pagan Meccans around him, he began to feel more and more aloof from the society in which he had been brought up. Soon, he began to experience religious visions which slowly but surely burgeoned in to a world religion of Islam focused primarily around the Quran and Hadiths. After Muhammad conquered Mecca, Islam began to spread in earnest, most of the times through questionable and brutal methods such as military conquest, or through peaceful methods like the spreading of political unity. This kind of dissemination of the faith was rare however. From the Iran hostage crisis, to September 11, to the Madrid bombings, to the London bombings, to the incessant Islamist attacks in Bharat, and the ongoing terrorist assaults against the Israeli state, do these attacks have religious sanctification? Are they isolated incidents carried out by a few "mislead" Muslim Radicals, or, is there a more sinister side to the religion of Islam. Is Islam really a religion of peace?
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate – Part I
Islam needs to be defeated at every level - Part II

In an article: The True, Peaceful Face Of Islam, by Karen Armstrong that appeared in Time magazine on Sep. 23, 2001 shortly after the World Trade Center attacks, Armstrong explicates that the very word Islam originates from the Arabic word (Salam) meaning peace and submission. According to Armstrong, Muhammad"s main mission was to bring an end to the mass killings such as the ones witnessed on September 11th. To further condole the victims, and to relate the similar plight of Muslims in earlier centuries, the author asserts that Muslims themselves faced annihilation at the hands of the powerful city of Mecca. Muhammad himself survived several assassination attempts on his life. Islam, Armstrong insists: "is not addicted to war", instead when Muhammad realized that his people were safe, he led a peace oriented campaign, and restored stability to war torn Arabia. According to this author, Islam recognized the rights of all religions existence.

The art of self-deception and deceiving others as well in the process is painfully common among Islamist apologists across the pages of history. Now, Armstrong"s utopian and most naive article needs a grave reality check. Let us take a close look at its first assertion, i.e. Islam strictly means (PEACE). While it is true that the word Salam means peace, but it is worth looking in to the word submission as well, which, also happens to find interpretation in Salam. Submission to what? Submission to peace? NO, certainly not. It means submission to Allah, and Allah alone. It would help greatly to remember: Allah is the only God, and Muhammad is his messenger"." So what opinion do the Muslims have of the billions of people living in complete darkness waiting to become fuel for the hellfire that awaits them, incognizant of the glory of "peaceful" Islam. Well as a succinct explanation, the assertion aforementioned can be a good place to begin for a curious unbeliever wondering what Islam really articulates regarding their unIslamic beliefs. According to the sacred text itself translated by Yusafali in Sura (2, AL-BAQARA THE COW), in no equivocal terms, Allah thunders:

Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).

Allah"s revealing tirade does not end there. In Sura (11.022, HUD HUD), Allah once again reiterates his dire warning to the unbelievers:

Without a doubt, these are the very ones who will lose most in the Hereafter!

Again in Sura (15.002, AL-HIJR, STONELAND, ROCK CITY), Allah says:
Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed (to Allah"s will) in Islam.

And again in Sura (2.39):
But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein.

Well it could not get any more dismal for infidels, so now the unbelievers are not only deaf, dumb, and blind, but are also going to suffer in Allah"s all consuming hell. The Muslim Jihadis have sent quite a few unbelievers across the globe to Allah"s hellfire.

What one is reminded of is not any kind of religion advocating a way of life for a group of peoples, but rather a political ideology. For example: when the Democrats tell Republican supporters that if they do not vote for the Democrats in the next election, they will lose their right to economical benefits such as social security and other popular welfare programs. The thing to remember here is that we are not examining the Democratic Party VS. The Republican Party, but an established religion which has over a billion followers. Another ideological war that finds affinity with Islam, is the old competition between communism and capitalism. Communists censure the capitalists for creating a situation where resources are unequally distributed, and where the proletariat is at a heavy disadvantage. If parallels can easily be drawn between Islam and political ideologies and political parties, it should not be long before alarm bells start to sound in the unbeliever"s mind. We all know when an ideology or party such as communism in the former Soviet Union, and the fascist Nazis in Germany crossed their limits, terrible and incalculable destruction can be brought upon the hapless population. Something about this religion of peace and harmony does not bode well for those who choose to enlighten themselves beyond the regular unfettered aphorisms of "Islam is a peaceful religion!"

As a precaution, there are those who would vociferously contend that Islam does not force anyone to convert. Of course, their assertion is not without any substance however. The thread worn verse from Sura (2.256) helps out the desperate Muslims:

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. But where did this wonderful most convenient verse originate?

Well, as it happens, this quote has been emphatically hurled at unbelievers ad-nausea by serious Islam apologists and by Islamists. But what they convincingly fail to mention is that from where did this beautifully crafted convenient quote originate? Retreat and pronounce peaceful intentions has often been the clever tactic employed by many nations when they were weak vis-à-vis their enemies. When they were able to mount an attack that would give them victory, they would change their stance. Muhammad"s stray Quranic verse was no different, Islam is no different.

Now, let us look at the second fallacy of the article. Is there a reason why the newly anointed Muhammad did not immediately opt for military conquest of surrounding infidel territories? Yes. The plain and simple answer is that at that time, Muslims did not hold any kind of monopoly in regard to creating a population explosion. But when Islam began to forcibly gain followers, it was safe to attack and further expand the faith.

At present, there is an unwavering demographic assault occurring in Bharat, and many other Western countries, where Muslim leaders are overtly encouraging the faithful to disobey the infidel governments, demand special rights for being "Allah"s favorite children", establish Shari"a law, and commit flagrant acts of aggression against the infidel population. On April 11, 2008, a rank appeal was passionately made by Hamas MP Yunis Al-Astal. This appeal exhorted Muslims around the globe to continue Jihadic "sacrifices" until every capital in the world is converted to Allah"s bastion. A quote from this crazed man that stands out like a sore-thumb is:

Today, we instill these good tidings in their souls, and by means of the mosques and the Koran books, and the history of our Prophets,
His companions, and the great leaders, we prepare them for the mission of saving humanity from the hellfire on the brink of which they stand.

But why should we meet this statement with shock, for this is exactly what Allah and his messenger have instructed in so many words in the Quran. This man is merely carrying forth what the Prophet set in motion around 1400 years earlier.

Further, columnist Moorthy Muthuswamy explains two models of the religion of Islam. The first one is: the religion model. This model, according to Muthuswamy is what the Western intelligencea has swallowed and propagated. This model proposes that Muslims are just as any other religion, and that there might be rotten apples amongst the population, but over all, Islam is a peaceful religion. But Muthuswamy puts forth a reasonable and far more compelling explanation. Muthuswamy says that there is a conquest model of Islam as well. In this niche, Islam would surely fit. This model avers with the Quranic teachings, where every Muslim is in pitch battle (Jihad) against every non-Muslim.

In another article titled: Violent Islamic radicals know they are heretical published in the Guardian on July 6, 2006; Karen Armstrong attributes the 2005 London bombings to extremists. Armstrong asserts that Islamic extremists know they are deviant in relation to the religion of Islam. What Armstrong does not care to explain is how these terrorists are deviant from Islam, when it is these very same men who recite Quranic verses and attribute the success of the bloodshed to their merciful Allah? Further, she does not hesitate to quickly point to the supposed sufferings of Muslims in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Palestine as a cause of the bombings and acts of violence. According to Armstrong, Islam promotes justice, and a sense of community worth and protection, which prompts youth to take up cudgels on behalf of their "oppressed" brothers and sisters. Moreover, the author equates violent Jihad to Christian fundamentalism. Firstly, the author is right to an extent when equating the two fundamentalisms, but the bloody Crusades are a thing of the past. Today, Christians use other methods to augment their population. Armstrong should not leave out mentioning that Islam is not the only religion that promotes justice for those who have been discriminated against.

Speaking of discrimination, in Bangladesh and Pakistan, Hindus have suffered near total annihilation at the hands of the faithful. Islam does not allow for the separation of religion and state, therefore, it is almost imperative the unbelievers in any given territory do their best to prevent the state from becoming a Muslim majority state. Once again: Muslims are not the only sufferers in the world. They are not the only victimized peoples. Hindus, Jews, and even Christians, have all suffered the wrath of the religion of peace. In fact, let us ponder the role of the Muslims under the aegis of Islam, as the victimizers? Applying the same logic, Islamists so fondly utilize, we should all be embroiled in a sanguine war, reeking havoc in this world with newfangled nuclear sophisticated weapons that so many rogue states now possess.

The reasoning above is a circuitous method in which to put the blame on the real victim, and to take the spotlight off of Islam and its teachings. Before sounding off sirens of alarm, Muslims should take a hard look at Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, and Iran. With a nefarious reputation for being safe havens for Jihadi terrorists, the day is not far when Pakistan and Bangladesh will also occupy the coveted position of pure Islamic states, in full accordance with the Quran.

Another interesting, rarely examined aspect of the Muslim whining is the unavoidable fact that Muslim countries indulge in flagrant discrimination against their own citizens. For example: Saudi Arabia"s Shari"a laws heavily discriminate against women. Moreover, Muslims have been involved in committing crimes against each other as well. Some indisputable examples of intra-Muslim violence include: Saddam Hussein unleashing poison gas upon his own people, the Pakistani army unleashing a reign of terror in East-Pakistan prior to 1971, an the recent bloodshed among intra-Muslim factions in Iraq, and other countless atrocities that have been ignored. Why? This is because these enormities were committed by Muslims, against Muslims; further, infidels are nowhere to be found in this intra-Muslim violence. Thus the reason for the all consuming silence.

Let us examine another apologetic author gallantly championing the Islamic cause. According to Jonathan Manthorpe, a major component of today"s Islamic world is radical Islam which not only exists in the Middle East but has spread to Western Europe, and to a lesser extent to the U.S. Emphatically, Manthorpe, in the Vancouver Sun published on September 27, 2001, gave several reasons for the rise of radical Islam in the Middle East. One important cause is the constant Western interventions. He gives the example of Tehran, where the CIA was able to overthrow the nationalist and secular Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq, which the U.S. feared might be swayed to join the Soviet Union. Mossadeq was overthrown for another reason and that was because he was about to nationalize the oil company to give Iranians a more equitable share of Iran"s oil fortune. 25 years after 1954, this would come to haunt the U.S. in what was the biggest revolution of the 20th century against a superpower backed government. Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, and was seen as a paradigm for all so-called fundamentalists throughout the Islamic world. This basically summarizes what Manthorpe wants us to believe about Islam"s justification for promoting hatred against the non-Islamic world. Manthorpe also suggests that the imperialists like Britain, France, and later the U.S. never allowed for Islam to evolve a workable democracy alongside Islamic values.

If we were to believe that, then we are either fatuously naive, or, we will be willfully denying the glorious past Islam has afflicted upon this world. For as long as Islam has existed, it has obtrusively been incompatible with any kind of democratic institution. For example: during the enlightenment era, Islam could have had plenty of influence and paradigms to evolve a workable democracy, but it made no such move. Not only that, but when India was partitioned, the new Islamic Republic of Pakistan had just as much of a chance to become a democracy as India had, but it did not. Instead, it was tightly controlled by its corrupt military establishment, and fundamentalist Mullahs. The U.S. like any other state was looking out for its own national interest.

Showing no scruples while lauding Islam and its purported peace, Armstrong makes another untenable claim, I.E. Jihad means "inner struggle". The author further states that Islam was not spread through the sword, but instead Muhammad and the Quran instructed the faithful to live in peace and harmony. The author says that the September 11 attacks were an egregious violation of some of the most sacred tenets of Islam. Islam is not the only faith urging fundamentalism amongst its followers, asserted Armstrong, but rather it is a common phenomenon and a reaction in the 20th century by all monotheistic faiths against what they perceived as a concerted assault by seculars to efface their religious values. Armstrong exhorted the followers of Islam to speak out against the persons who highjacked the religion of peace. Let us look at Jihad and what we can do to stop this menace more closely in sequential analysis.

(to be continued..)

Adity Sharma

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