Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Defining the Religion of Peace

In the arena of ideas concerning Islam and Islamic terrorism, the debate rages between two camps essentially divided by two opposing beliefs:

Islam is a religion of peace.

Islam is a religion of violence.

There is good reason for such debate on the matter. On the one hand we have every Muslim cleric, every leader of an Islamic country, and even common Muslim individuals seemingly expressing the most sincere appreciation and desire for peace. And on the other hand we have Muslim militants crashing planes into buildings, shooting schoolchildren in the back, and blowing themselves up at cafes.

So, are the clerics and leaders and common Muslims lying about the peaceful nature of their own religion? Can they not see the obvious contradiction between claiming to be peaceful and planning suicide attacks on civilians?

The answer to both these questions is: no. Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace.

The confusion rests in the how Islamists define "peace", versus how Westerners define it.

Westerners essentially define peace as tolerance of disagreement between people. It assumes that disagreements among people or groups or countries are acceptable and unavoidable, and thus focuses on minimizing only the violence that may be caused by disagreements.

This definition of peace is predicated on the idea that disagreements between people can be addressed fairly under the reasoned rule of law; that disagreeing parties will value the rule of law above their own grievances; and that they will accept a level of disagreement with others on the basis of mutual desire to avoid violent conflict. Hence, the high regard the West places on ideas like "pluralism" and "diversity" and "tolerance".

But we in the West have forgotten that there is another, much older, means of achieving peace: eliminating disagreement.

The Islamic idea of world peace is predicated on achieving unchallenged supremacy over the world. All (surviving) non-Muslims will duly conform to their divine status as dhimmis and pay their divinely-mandated jizya taxes without a fuss. With Islam as the undisputed, unchallenged authority over the world, peace would reign at last, and it is precisely this definition of "peace" that devout Muslims pray for, five times daily.

Furthermore, Koranic prophecy states that when earthly Muslims achieve Islam's dominance over the world, the world will at last be fit for Allah Himself, and He will come down from Heaven and reinstate Paradise on Earth. So to that end, Muslims are compelled by religious belief to remove all barriers throughout the world that impede the supreme ascendance of Islam - a drive towards "peace", as Muslims might say.

This active "removal of barriers" towards ultimate Islamic hegemony, and resultant peace, is the true motivation and meaning of Islamic jihad.

If all of this sounds to you like just "hokey" religious fairy tales, then you are a Westerner. One must remember that, while the West has for centuries placed its own religious beliefs up for criticism and scrutiny, the Islamic Orient has no such tradition. Lost are the heads of those rare Muslims throughout history who dared criticize in any way the verbatim words of Allah as written in the Holy Koran. Indeed, the core axiom of Islam is a literal interpretation of the Koran, with only marginal debate concerning the Hadith (the eyewitness chronical of every action and utterance of the Koran's "Ideal Man", Mohammed).

Thus, the Muslim who beheads or subjugates that last free-thinking infidel will have eliminated all religious and ideological disagreement with Islam, finally achieving the ultimate Islamic imperative - World Peace.

Crashing skyscrapers in New York, bullet-riddled children in Beslan, exploded planes over Scotland, and beheaded contractors in Iraq, are all merely Islam's way of asking the rest of us to "give peace a chance."


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