Questioning Whether Islam Is Religion of Peace
Reasonable Muslims now agree that when a religion veers so far off course, it loses immunity to inquisition. “We ought to go through very serious questioning and soul-searching,” a founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Dr. Maher Hathout, wrote on “The American Muslim” Web site Thursday. “How did we, as a group, fail to nip this ugly phenomenon in the bud?” he asks. “How did we indulge in the luxury of theoretical debates, and craft all kinds of euphemisms to let this go on, spill out, and grow?” The bare facts are there for all to see: Over the past 40 years or so, Islam’s millions of fanatical preachers and political operatives have represented the religion as one of an “oppressed” people, victimized for centuries by the multiple ogres of Christianity, Judaism, and secularism. Listen to many preachers, read several interpretations of the Muslim holy book, or go to a variety of madrassas from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, and you will quickly learn that Islam’s central value, bar none, is jihad. Far from a religion of peace, these clerics have “weaponized” Islam’s text and the Koran into a war manifesto against even fellow Muslims — as between Shiites and Sunnis.
A billion Muslims. That’s a lot of soul searching that needs to be done. I hope they do it soon. Right now, Islam is more associated with the “sword” or the bomb than anything else.