ISLAM DOES NOT MEAN PEACE. In an admirable attempt to make it clear that the War on Terrorism is not a war on Islam, our President and the news media have been guilty of misleading the public for a good cause. Perhaps they believe what they are saying, but that does not make it true. This reminds me of when the government tried to convince us that marijuana would cause users to become violent psychopaths. The intention was good. Marijuana is indeed bad. But the truth is always the best way.
For starters, "Islam" does NOT mean peace. (The literal translation of the Arabic root word for Islam, "asla ma," is "submission.") The dictionary, encyclopedias, and even the official American Moslem website C.A.I.R. (more about C.A.I.R. later) all define "Islam" as "the Moslem religion." Period. Are most Moslems peaceful? Yes. Then why not just say that instead of trying to propagandize the issue? This is reminiscent of Phil Donahue saying over and over again that ten percent of the population of U.S. citizens are homosexuals. (The actual percentage is a little over one percent, according to government scientific studies.) Say it often enough, and an undiscriminating public will believe it. So everywhere we go we hear people parroting, "Islam means peace!"
Second, we hear the Moslem religion is a peaceful religion. Even a cursory study of Islamic history will show that Muslims have been involved in "Holy Wars" since the time of Muhammed, most notably among themselves. Even though many of their wars have been waged against "infidels" (which means anyone who is not a Muslim), just as often we find Muslims murdering one another. This is because the major sects often declare other Muslims who do not strictly adhere to their brand of the religion as "infidels." This means they are also fair game for holy elimination, for which they get extra points from Allah.
The third misconception is that Muslims just want to be left alone, and will not bother anyone who doesn’t bother them. Tell that to the historically Christian lands of Syria, Anatolia, and North Africa, to name a few, which were forced by the Sword of Allah to convert to Islam or die.
The most serious misconception is one the civilized world ignores at its own peril. We assume everyone thinks as we do about religion and government. That is dangerous thinking. Included among those subscribing to this thought process are the Muslims who live in the United States, many of whom have, to a greater or lesser extent, assimilated into our culture. Our nation was founded on the principle that no religion should dominate the government, and that all religions have equal protection under the law. The United States is often called a Christian nation, but it is not. If it were, Christian principles would rule our government’s actions. Only the most naive among us would believe that to be true. However, when a country calls itself a Moslem nation, it is deadly serious.
You see, under the Koran (also spelled Quran and Qur’an) no government can be considered legitimate unless it is controlled by the religious leaders. It is the duty of every male Muslim to fight to the death if necessary to ensure that his nation is ruled by Allah, through the religious leaders. This is why the leaders of Afghanistan are not political or military people, as in most nations. They are Mullahs. And this is why Iran is controlled by its Ayatollahs.
This brings us to the main point of this article. Of the four main sects of Islam that emerged in the century after the death of Muhammed, the Kharijites were the most radical - basically fanatics. These are the spiritual fathers of Osama bin Laden and his gang of cowards. The Kharijites had a violent, politicized view of Islam, and committed terrible massacres upon the followers of other Moslem sects. They believed any Muslim who did not follow their exact version of Islam was an infidel and could legitimately be killed.
The history of Islam is that of one benighted effort after another to construct "an ideal form of Islamic government." Islamic governments only cohere when they can unite their people against an external enemy. This gives us fresh insight into the importance of Jihad as a religious and political concept. Islam’s emphasis on holy war and politics as a religious enterprise makes bin Laden’s version of Islam all the more threatening. Osama is doing what other Moslem leaders would like to do, but are afraid to do. This is why he is considered a hero by many of the common Muslims. This is why we see violent protests today in support of bin Laden in Pakistan and other Moslem nations.
Although some Moslem leaders have celebrated bin Laden’s acts, the leaders of many Moslem nations have condemned his terrorism, as have some Moslem religious leaders. Conspicuously silent on the subject of Islamic terrorism have been the major religious Moslem nations and the organizations that speak for large groups of Muslims. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents 55 Moslem nations and ethnic groups, has been totally silent in condemnation of bin Laden’s terrorism. This is not too surprising considering their last international meeting was in Tehran. Of more concern is the mealy-mouthed response of C.A.I.R. (the Council on American-Islamic Relations). Of the several press releases C.A.I.R has issued since September 11, almost all have dealt with their concern about America’s supposed "smear campaign" against Muslims. Their only condemnation of the terrorism was very weak, and failed to even mention the perpetrators were Muslims. It stated in part, "We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians." Apparently?
This IS a religious war. Osama bin Laden’s own statements make this fact abundantly clear. ’’The call to wage war against America was made because America has spearheaded the crusade against the Islamic nation." Please note that nation is singular, not plural. Osama sees all of Islam as one nation, and he considers himself its leader. He has stated that his terrorism is ’’of the commendable kind, for it is directed at the tyrants and the aggressors and the enemies of Allah.’’ He added, ’’Our religion is under attack!’’ He made it clear that the attackers are Christians and Jews. Without question, bin Laden and his Islamic extremists are waging a religious war on the United States.
EDITOR’S NOTES: Some people are confused by the many terms used to refer to Islam and its adherents. The terms "Moslem" and "Muslim" can both correctly be used either as nouns or adjectives, and are often used interchangeably. The word "Moslem" is most often used as an adjective, as in "a Moslem mosque." The word "Muslim" is usually used as a noun, and refers to an individual follower of Islam. "Islam" is just another way of saying "the Moslem religion." It would be impossible to treat such a large subject properly in such limited space, so I have provided several links to further information below. I have drawn heavily on research done by my wife, Ana, in writing this article. She did such a thorough job that we have posted her research, titled "Understanding Islam and its Radicals,"on our website in the Attack on America section. Finally, it is not only the fanatics that see the West as a threat to Islam. In researching the Moslem point of view, I saw this paranoia exhibited in materials published by moderate Moslems. I have included a link to an article in a Moslem newspaper where the author states that Islam is being "targeted" for extinction by the West now that Communism has been defeated, and that "the Crusades have never really finished."
www.ConservativeTruth.org/attack/islam - Ana Barrett’s research paper
www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/000/437fawvi.asp - Fred Barnes on "The Moslem Moment"
www.heritage.org/library/lecture/hl718.html - Excellent educational piece in Islam from the Heritage Foundation
www.andrewsullivan.com/text/main_article.html?3 - A New York Times Columnist writes about religious aspects
www.hvk.org/hvk/articles/0397/0150.html - An article about Moslem leaders by a Moslem