Essays from Free Inquiry magazine (#2)

Date: Mon 11 Nov 2002 - 00:54:41 GMT

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    The Islamic Concept of Peace: Can the West Accept it? By Abdul Maseeh

    After much research and reflection, I have come to understand the Islamic concept of peace as something like this: Peace comes through submission, which is the meaning of the word Islam. This submission, of course, is submission to Muhammed and his concept of Allah in the Qu'ran, in other words, Islam once again. Theoretically peace exists inside Dar-al-Islam, the House of Submission. I say "theoretically" because we all know that Muslims, even though they are not supposed to, do fight fellow Muslims. Consider the Afghan civil war between the Pashtuns on one side and the then-Northern Alliance (Uzbeks, Tajiks, etc.) on the other; Iraq's attack on Kuwait and its earlier war with Iran; or the West Pakistani attack on East Pakistan, which subsequently became Bangladesh. Peace with pagans, that is, people not "of the Book", is impossible; they are all to be given a chance to accept Islam or be killed. This is illustrated by the killing of pagans in the south of Sudan, the north of Nigeria, and the south of Chad, in each case by Muslims eager to impose Islamic law. With regard to Christians and Jews, they too are to be fought against until they are subdued and feel themselves subdued - that is found in Qu'ran sura 9, verse 29 ("Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued"). Examples of this are also found in Sudan, Nigeria and Chad, and also in Indonesia - along with smaller atrocities against Christians in Egypt and the heinous repression of all Christian activity in Saudi Arabia by the Wahhabis. To say that Islam is a religion of peace is not true. Islam is committed to war, both by the example of Muhammed, who fought on until he subdued Mecca and then other tribes, and by the Qu'ran's teaching supported by numerous passages in the Hadith. According to Amir Tahiri, aditor of Politique International in Paris, of the thirty wars going on as of October 2001, twenty-eight involve Muslims fighting either non-Muslims or even other Muslims! The Qu'ran does teach that Muslims are never to initiate war. But Islam has a strange way of putting this into practice. For example, Muslims are supposed to offer non-Muslims an opportunity to embrace Islam. If the non- Muslims, refuse, this is viewed as aggression against Allah and Islam. Therefore Muslims are allowed to fight these "aggressors" until they are converted or killed. Perhaps the greatest proof that Islam is not a religion of peace is sura 4, verse 89, which proclaims that any who want to leave Islam
    (turn renegade) shall be put to death: "But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them." This makes Islam the religion of fear, not of peace. There will be war in the world so long as people believe in Muhammed, his example, and his teaching. The Islamic concept of peace, meaning making the whole world Muslim, is actually a mandate for war.

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