War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.
(George Orwell, 1984)
I grew up as an abused child. My step-father was an alcoholic sadist. I learned very early in my life the meaning of ‘peace’: continuous appeasement and unquestioning submission to the capricious will of those with power over us just so that they let us be.
My stepfather was, by the way, the communist policeman who planted guns in the haystacks of the kulaks at night so that they can be arrested next morning for possessing illegal weapons. These kulaks eventually also found some sort of peace in the labour camps. Communism was another capricious power that was keen in the promotion of world peace, jihad (they called it class-struggle) and ideological cohesion from within. I learned that peace isn’t necessarily a good thing.
What is Peace anyway?
To understand peace, we have to understand war, conflicts and fights. At some point in our childhood we all must have faced the question: “Who started it”? A fight only starts when the other guy hits back. Conflicts begin when persuasion ends, when one side realizes that his will cannot prevail through peaceful means. But conflicts are temporary compared to the relative permanence of submission (Islam). Oppression can be very peaceful as long as the oppressed does not rebel. Talking about peace is meaningless unless we can define what exactly we mean by it. Debating it is pointless until it can be ascertained that all participants of the debate have the same understanding about its meaning and the limitations of the definition.
Comparative peace studies
Just try to google “Islam a religion of peace” and you will have literally millions of hits.
In Youtube alone you will get over two million. Serious people in serious forums are debating the question, some making a career out of being the debater of this particular question.
After a while they get a bit tedious as opponents of the notions are dragged into pointless theological and sociological arguments.
Talking about what the Koran or the hadiths say, what some lunatic cleric preaches, how to interpret a particular tenet is just as pointless as discussing Islam’s historic ‘achievements’ and its Nobel prize winners or trying to measure how many Muslims are actual terrorists and how many support Isis or terrorist acts in general. As Mark Twain observed, you should “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” Replace stupid with sleazy and you’ll get the same result.
The only question nobody asks is the first one that comes to my mind facing the claim that “Islam is the religion of peace”. Can we know COMPARED TO WHAT?
Contrary to what Muslims claim and believe, their God is NOT the only one out there. I could name a few dozen myself and even the one Muslims have in mind is worshiped in many ways. What Muslims say about their own faith is irrelevant. What matters is how it ranks in comparison to other systems of belief.
Let’s start with some of Islam’s competitors symbolized here:
Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, (Islam) Buddhism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Baha’i and Jainism.
Since Islam is a fundamentally totalitarian political religion, I would also throw in communism and fascism. Since we have Shinto on the list, we could also have Confucianism and Taoism; we could consider minor and dead religions but I do not believe that it would change much in the ranking.
We could also go into the details of comparing and ranking, but that could turn into a long and unnecessary detour.
We can determine peacefulness on two criteria: ideology and practice; what is advocated in their scriptures and what is practiced – in the name of their religion – by their followers. Any honest comparison will have to conclude that compared to any other ideology, Islam is by far the most violent, oppressive and intolerant in both theory and practice. It beats even communism and fascism on both counts. In Shinto and Baha’i, violence does not even enter the picture. The Japanese may be war-like, but their religions aren’t. Baha’i was born with the goal of overcoming religious strife. The ‘violence’ of the Sikhs is defensive. Non-aggression is the essence of Jainism and a significant part of Buddhism. Non-proselytising ideologies are more peaceful than others. With these caveats, here is my ranking from least to most peaceful:
Islam – Fascism – Communism – Judaism – Shintoism – Sikhism – Christianity – Baha’i – Buddhism – Jainism
and in practice:
Islam – Communism – Fascism – Christianity – Shintoism – Sikhism – Judaism – Baha’i – Buddhism – Jainism
The above ranking could be debated, the only thing that isn’t in question is the placing of Islam for either criteria. Trying to answer the question “is Islam the religion of peace”, we could easily paraphrase Winston Churchill’s wisecrack about democracy:
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” … to say that:
ISLAM is the most peaceful religion in the world, except any other that we know of.
On the list of humanity’s cultural achievements, Islam is the pits. It may be wonderful to its followers, it just does not stand up in any comparison.
Peace is coming
According to the holy books of Islam, the world will be at peace only when Sharia will reign in every country, but not until then. It is the ultimate intent, the ultimate goal that allows every Muslim to truthfully claim that Islam is a religion of peace. The Jihad is for the peace of Islam, the moment in history when Dar al-Harab (the house of war) has been turned into Dar al-Islam (the house of submission). Muslims truly want peace. THEIR PEACE.
Will they ever have it? It is somewhat doubtful. The call for jihad is not only against the infidels, but against the ‘hypocrites’ as well. Even if the Muslims succeed in killing every Jew and in converting every Christian, communist and Buddhist, they will still have each other. There is no such thing as a ‘Muslim peace’, but there is Sunni peace and Shia peace, Salafist, Wahhabi, Taliban and Isis peace – to name just a few. There can be no peace in Islam until their differences are sorted out.
Which is not to say that we cannot have a good idea of what Muslim peace would look like:
Sharia. Halal. Strict dress code for women. No entertainment (except, of course, the public beheadings, stoning, mutilations and floggings,……… maybe soccer.) No music, no humor. No science contradicting the primitive ideas of an illiterate nomad fifteen centuries ago. No intellectual freedom beyond the confines of the faith. No education for women and without that, obviously no health care of any kind either as male doctors would not be allowed to touch women not related to them. No sexual deviation, except, of course, pedophilia. Maybe bestiality. Sodomy is also OK, you just cannot do it with love because that is homosexuality which is punishable by death. If you truly wish to understand the prerequisites of Muslim peace, you have to go to the source. An excellent example would be the “Sayings of the Ayatollah Khomeini” You cannot possibly understand the depravity of Islam until you read the works of their most respected representatives. Peace in Islam means obeying the demented laws such as the ones spelled out in Khomeini’s intellectual masterpiece.
Once you properly understand what the word peace means for Muslims and can picture yourself living under its rules, the only question left is this:
Is that the KIND of peace YOU want?
And if it isn’t, shouldn’t you do something about it? You can start by sharing this question.