ISLAM, A PEACEFUL RELIGION?

That is the question that many have asked. It is a relevant question, especially when you consider the way Islamic terrorists view Americans. The answer can be easily and quickly found by simply reading from the book that is the basis for their beliefs, the Koran. Of course, we all understand that most of the Moslem community would deny any affiliation with the terrorist groups. Some would even deny that the terrorists are faithful to the Islamic religion.

What is happening here may be the same as what has happened so many times in history. Certain zealots, whether claiming to be Moslem or Christian, operate their lives on a misunderstanding of the very religion they claim to follow. It has happened many times in the past where some “Christians” decided that they would convert the world by force. This has happened in spite of Jesus’ teaching in John 18:36-37 that His kingdom is not of this world and that His true servants would not fight to spread it.

In the Bible, followers of Jesus are instructed to love their enemies and do good to them. Of course this instruction is directed to the individual, not to nations. Numerous passages such as Romans 13:1-5 show that governments are directed by God to be protectors of their citizens, even using the death penalty to punish evil doers. But with regard to individual conduct, nowhere in the New Testament are Christians ever told to be violent with others. In fact, they are told to turn the other cheek and not to return violence for violence. (See Matthew 5:38-48. See also 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)

Unfortunately, this is not the case with the Koran. In spite of the fact that some passages in the Koran prohibit force being used to convert others, that is not the case in all passages. The edition quoted below is the 1984 edition from Penguin Books. Keep in mind that Moslems consider a non-Moslem to be an “unbeliever.” They regard those who believe Jesus is God’s Son to be in a false religion. In fact, they regard anyone who does not believe that Mohammed was a true prophet as an “unbeliever.”

Page 317, (8:37)

Tell the unbelievers that if they mend their ways their past shall be forgiven, but if they persist in sin, let them reflect upon the fate of their forefathers. Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme.

Page 321, (9:4)

Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers, except those idolaters who have honoured their treaties with you and aided none against you. With these keep faith, until their treaties have run their term. Allah loves righteousness. When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and pay the alms-tax, let them go their way.

The point to be made is that many who read the Koran overlook or misunderstand passages like these. Thus, a majority of Moslems do not adhere to violence nor do they advocate conversion by force. Yet, the Koran teaches that Moslems are to “make war on” unbelievers, to “slay” and “lie in ambush” for them. When “Christian” zealots use force to try to convert people to Christianity, they are going against the New Testament. In the case of Islam, however, it seems that a small number of “extremists” are simply following the teachings of their own book and it is the mass of Moslems who are not following their own scriptures. If you are an open-minded person, read the passages above from the Koran and decide for yourself what it teaches its followers to do to “unbelievers.” Christians who advocate violence are not following the Bible. Moslems who advocate violence are following the Koran!

Is Islam a peaceful religion? While many adherents to that religion are peaceful, their book certainly accommodates those who are not peaceful. Islam labels Christians as “unbelievers”. The Koran gives instructions for how unbelievers are to be treated.