Robert Spencer, skewerer of PC-isms about Islam, its history, theology, and relationship with others, is back again. This time he targets the biggest myth of all, that Islam is a religion of peace. This is a myth that is perpetuated by such public figures as President Bush and Tony Blair. It forms part of the effort to claim that Islamists are some aberration that have nothing to do with Islam and its teachings. Like much of what is said about Islam this stems from ignorance, naiveté, and probably a dose of unwillingness to admit the truth.
The irony, of course, is that the words of Mohammed are there for anyone to see. Unlike Christianity or Judaism, whose sacred books were written down by those other than those whose words are quoted, the Koran is in fact the actual words of the man himself. Unlike the New Testament which is made up of transcribed oral histories of what Jesus did and said, all written decades after his death, the words in the Koran are those words “dictated” by Mohammad himself, if you so believe.
There are many Sunnah that dictate exactly what is to be done with unbelievers (ie kill them, tax/humiliate/enslave them or convert them) with especial emphasis on how to treat Jews, whom Mohammed spent some time slaughtering in his day. The New and Old Testaments have none such evocations, being merely a collection of parables about actual events that took place in biblical times. In fact Jesus repeatedly makes it clear that we should “turn the other cheek”.
The mistake that those trying to compare Christianity/Judaism and Islam make is they see all violence as equal in holy books. They mistake violence as told in a tale as the same as invocation to commit violence among believers. Yes, institutions of the Church have committed heinous crimes in the name of their Church; however Muslims have been committing similar and far worse crimes in the name of their religion. Spencer points out that more Jews were killed in a single massacre in Muslim-held Spain than were killed by the Inquisition in its entire history.
We all have to remember that Islam is a complete ideology, that encompasses all aspects of life from how much wife abuse is allowed to who it's permissible to kill in the name of your god.
Mostly this book aims at dispelling the moral relativity that is being peddled by the establishment in regard to Islam. He details how the left in the US and around the world use this moral relativity to downplay Islamist violence round the world by wheeling about such straw men as Timothy McVeigh (who said himself he was post-Christian) and the perceived “Christian theocracy” movement. Yes, there are loons out there who wish to turn the US into some theocracy but they are by no means dominant in politics or the mainstream.
While Spencer considers himself a Christian, I certainly do not claim to be one. It is possible not to believe the paranoia about Christians trying to take over the US and not be a Christian, hard though that might be for some to believe.
As with all of Spencer’s books he takes great care to poke holes through all the myths, paranoia, and propaganda surrounding how we deal with Islam. Like all the rest of his books, Religion of Peace? is an essential read for anyone wanting to learn about the threat the West faces. Not all religions are the same and Islam is not a religion of peace.