Back to Index

Is Islam a religion of peace?



Don Emmerson says: "To quote a recent posting : "Muslims claim that Mohammed was a man of peace and that Islam is a religion of peace. Is that true?" Islam is a religion of peace AND war. So is Christianity. It depends on what phrase in the Koran or the Bible you choose to quote. As for a careful and dispassionate content analysis of the two books--to see whether one of them offers proportionally more or less support for war compared with the other--that would be an interesting if methodologically difficult and politically controversial thing to attempt. But even if such an investigation were to show that one book was more "warrior-friendly" than the other, drawing a causal conclusion from that result would require a truly gigantic (and foolish) leap of inference from mere verbiage to actual violence--from belligerence on paper to aggression in practice. One would also have to address the view, nearly conventional among scholars, that the equivalent of the Koran in Christianity is not the Bible but Jesus. Would one then run another content analysis on the "hadith" and the "sunna" of Jesus? Incidentally, for WAISers who enjoy comparative religion in novelistic form, I highly recommend the Man Booker Prize-winner by Yann Martel, Life of Pi".

RH: Clearly the Old Testament is more warrior-friendly than the New. This does not mean that in practice "Christians" have been more peaceful than Muslims, but then, are "Christians" really Christian?

Ronald Hilton - 2/17/03


Webmaster