Re: Essays from Free Inquiry magazine (#2)

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 11 Nov 2002 - 02:50:48 GMT

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    >Subject: Essays from Free Inquiry magazine (#2)
    >Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 18:54:41 -0600
    >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
    >even though they are not supposed to, do fight fellow Muslims.
    >Consider the Afghan civil war between the Pashtuns on one side
    >the then-Northern Alliance (Uzbeks, Tajiks, etc.) on the other;
    >attack on Kuwait and its earlier war with Iran; or the West
    >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
    >the north of Nigeria, and the south of Chad, in each case by
    >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
    >found in Qu'ran sura 9, verse 29 ("Fight those who believe not in
    >nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which hath been
    >forbidden by
    >Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth,
    >among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with
    >submission, and feel themselves subdued"). Examples of this are
    >found in Sudan, Nigeria and Chad, and also in Indonesia - along
    >smaller atrocities against Christians in Egypt and the heinous
    >repression of all Christian activity in Saudi Arabia by the
    >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
    >going on as of October 2001, twenty-eight involve Muslims
    >either non-Muslims or even other Muslims! The Qu'ran does teach
    >Muslims are never to initiate war. But Islam has a strange way of
    >putting this into practice. For example, Muslims are supposed to
    >non-Muslims an opportunity to embrace Islam. If the non-
    >refuse, this is viewed as aggression against Allah and Islam.
    >Muslims are allowed to fight these "aggressors" until they are
    >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
    >(turn renegade) shall be put to death: "But if they turn renegades,
    >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
    >peace, meaning making the whole world Muslim, is actually a
    >for war.
    Surah 4, verse 90 seems to water the previous verse (89) down a tad, but how much? It seems that if those renegades have offered peace, then it would not be quite alright to slay them wherever they are found. The commentary in one of the Koran translations I've got (by Maulana Muhammad Ali) to verse 90 points out this distinction.

    Slaying "them" wherever they are found still sounds a little over the top IMO. Adding verse 91 (of surah 4) to the mix adds yet another distiction the other way, of slaying them wherever found, but maybe those are the ones who feign peacefulness?

    There could be an historical context to these verses not appreciated by those who are bashing Islam in general or those who cling to Islam as fundamentalists, like Christians who cling to Genesis in the face of evolution. These Koran verses appear anachronisms not applicable to the modern world, where people should learn to separate personal belief from governance and law.

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