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Is Islam a Violent Religion?

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Something has always bothered me about declarations that claim Islam is a violent religion. Largely relying on circumstantial evidence, because the regions that are typically the most violent tend to be Islamic, the argument goes that Islam is a violent religion. I haven’t read the Koran that I was sent by CAIR yet to decide for myself, but the claim sounds eerily similar to those that come from another sector of society.

The problem I have with this line of reasoning is that if you take history from a few hundred years ago, it could just as easily be applied to Christianity, and in fact, many secular “thinkers” continue to argue that Christianity breeds nothing but violence. It is this line of thought the leads social elites to demand that students say nothing that could smell of religion because that would violate the “wall of separation”. How it can be argued that the First Amendment (designed solely to protect individual citizen’s right of expression) supports the notion that private citizens not be allowed to speak their minds is beyond rationality.

Universities unconstitutionally suppress religious speech. Anything that can be related to Christianity is ripped out of the public square. This is what Enlightenment thinking has wrought, not freedom of expression, but restriction of the lines of inquiry into the deepest questions of human existence.

By claiming Islam is a violent religion on similar bases, people have unconsciously validated the Enlightenment thought that religion only breeds violence. This idea is simply wrong.

As an example, take Northern Ireland, which is often described as suffering from sectarian violence. On one hand, you have the Catholics who want to claim Northern Ireland as their own, and on the other, you have the Protestants (Anglicans) who want to claim Northern Ireland as theirs. The problem is the fighting has nothing to do with religion. Belfast holds no particular weight for the Papacy, and unless Belfast figures into Henry VIII’s problems with his Y chromosome, it has nothing to do with Anglicanism either.

The fighting over North Ireland is a political fight based on two nations’ claims that the land belongs to them. The Irish (a predominantly Catholic people) claim that Belfast rightfully belongs to them. The English (predominantly Anglican) claim it is theirs. Religion isn’t the area of contention. Anyone who describes this as a sectarian fight largely misses the point or is intentionally trying to find a tendency of violence in religion where it does not exist.

Another example is the so-called sectarian violence in Iraq. The Sunnis and Shiites don’t like each other, that is clear. However, when they have been fighting in Iraq, it doesn’t appear that they are fighting over the finer points of Islam. They do appear to be fighting over economics and political power. For the two groups to come together and form a viable government, it won’t take a reconciliation of the finer points of religious doctrine, but a political compromise.

The problem with religion is that it makes good propaganda in the hands of social elites who want to manipulate public opinion in their favor. This is why the “wall of separation” exists, to prevent the organs of government from misusing religion and vice versa. The institutions ought to remain separate.

It isn’t religion that drives people to violence; it is the social elites who use religion as a tool. It is naïve in the first degree to think heads of state sit around and think about what God wants of them. Generally, the most power hungry are more concerned with an increase of their own power and wealth, typically the things directly antithetical to most religions.

The next time someone says Islam (or another religion for that matter) is violent, take pause. Such over-simplistic stereotypes tend not to be well thought out and are generally just intellectual laziness on the part of a person who can’t win an argument otherwise. Anyone can cherry-pick a verse or two from a book.

About John Bambenek

John Bambenek is a political activist and computer security expert. He has his own company Bambenek Consulting in Champaign, IL that specializes in digital forensics and computer security investigations.
  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Oh, Jesus, here we go again. Islam is not a violent religion. Christianity is not a violent religion. Violence has been perpetrated by BOTH religions which teach us to kneel before the firmament and bow our heads low to the ground so that we may not see the truth which is there before us.

  • http://media-islam.or.id Agus Nizami

    Who Start World War I?

    World War I: The First Bloody World War (1914-1918)

    +10 Million Soldiers died

    +20 Million Soldiers wounded

    Who start the war?

    France, Russia, Britain against Germany and Austro-Hungary. Mostly Christians.

    Not Muslim!

    Microsoft Encarta, World War I

    Who Start World War II?

    atombombinhiroshima

    World War II: The Bloodiest War (1939-1945)

    55 Million people died

    Who start the war?

    France, Russia, Britain against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Mostly Christians.

    Not Muslim!

    Microsoft Encarta, World War II

    World War II Aftermath

    55 Million people died by the war waged by France, Russia, Britain, US against Germany, Italy, and Japan.

    Do you still think Islam is the most violent religion in the world?

    atombombinjapan

    Who Start Crusades War?

    Crusades War (1096-1291)

    Millions people died

    Who start the war?

    siegeofjerusalemWestern European Christians by Pope Urban II’s Order!

    Not Muslim!

    Do you still think Islam is the most violent religion in the world?

    Read more here.

  • asdsad

    U are all wrong Prophey Mohumad (may peace be upon him) was peaceful merciful just like Allah.
    so u guys stop be rascet to my religion
    GOD!

  • Z’d

    Every religion has had its share of bloodshed in the past, from the dawn of age to the age of civilization. Wether it be the Koran or the Bible, each has had its brand of violence dotted down in History both Muslims and Christians alike.
    We Christians should not pass Judgement on Muslims and their religious ethics when we also have had a very bloody unethical past, filled with violence and murder in the name of our God.
    Here are a few scriptures with such gruesome novelty that if Christians lived day by day as Muslims did through the Bible, we would be branded as savages.

    When at War…

    • Ezekiel 9:6 “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women . . . ”
    • Isaiah 13:16 “Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.”
    • Deuteronomy 13:15 “Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly . . . ”
    • Exodus 32:27 “. . . Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.”
    • Deut 21:10-12 “When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; ”
    • Exodus 12:29-30….. “And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.”

    Sinners

    • Leviticus 20:9 “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death . . . ”
    • Exodus 31:15 ” . . . whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.”
    • Deut 21:21 “And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he may die…”

    Murder
    2 Kings 2:23-24:
    • “And he [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”
    Elisha, a Prophet, was ridiculed by some little children who called him a name like “old baldy”. Elisha laid a curse on them in God’s name. God appears to have responded to the curse by sending two bears out of the woods who tare (tore up, killed) 42 of the little children.

    Executing a whole family for the sins of the father:
    Joshua 7:20-25:
    • “…Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel… And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”
    During the siege of Jericho, God had instructed Joshua to have the army avoid taking any loot from the city. Everything was to be destroyed. Only objects of silver and gold and utensils of bronze and iron were to be taken, and these were to be dedicated to God. Achan had violated these orders. He had taken and hidden a Babylonian robe, and a few thousand’s of dollars worth of silver and gold. Because of Achan’s sin, God allowed the Israelite army to be defeated in a battle for Ai, a small city close to Jericho. Many lives were lost. Achan confessed his sin. His punishment was death by stoning. Afterwards, his body was burned. But in addition to executing Achan, the Israelites stoned and burned his sons, his daughters, his animals and his tent. Apparently, his wife was already dead because she was not mentioned in this passage; otherwise she would have undoubtedly been murdered and burned as well.
    Mass murder of the Midianite children:
    Numbers 31:1-18:
    • “…And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses, and they slew all the [adult] males. And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones…And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses…And Moses was angry with the officers of the host And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Ba’laam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the female children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”
    God’s instructions, Moses sent 12,000 soldiers against the Midianites. The army killed every adult Midianite male. This is in response to some of the Israelite men having had sex with some of the Midianite women. Moses then ordered them to slaughter in cold blood each captive, including all of the boys, saving only female virgins. The latter were apparently to be retained for purposes of rape. The Midianite mothers were thus punished by having to watch their male children murdered in front of them. Then, they were themselves killed. Verse 35 talks about 32,000 virgin captives; this implies that there were probably about 32,000 boys killed.On
    Fortunately, other passages in the Bible imply that the above genocide and mass murder are just a myth. They not actually happen. If it did, then the entire Midian tribe would have been wiped out. All the males and many of the woman had been killed. Any children that the female captives later had would not be regarded as Midianites.

    Mass murder of Babylonian babies:
    • In Psalms 137:8-9, God is asked to bless those who would bash Babylonian babies against stones in an act of mass infanticide.
    So believers in Christ to brand one religion as Violent is to contradict your own when our own Bible has scriptures, verses and quotes filled with death as well.
    On the upside through time we have developed a more heightened sense, that being of a civilised believer in Christ therefore showing a greater value for life more then religion and or according to Gospel. I know that I as a Christian would never bring myself to the limits of murdering Children and babies even if God wanted me too that would be unethical and more importantly uncivilised. However Muslim extremists exist yet in Prehistoric times and continue to Murder and Kill according to their beliefs and for their god.
    For whatever reason, be it so many, I certainly hope America can bring some civility into Iraq and especially into Muslim Mosques during their occupation.

  • john

    islam is a violent religion.its not religion of peace.anyone who leave islam is killed in muslim country.all woman in saudi arabia and afghanistan forced to wear burqa
    and no one does anything for this.everyone is bored of islam.islam sucks.

  • http://media-islam.or.id Agus Nizami

    Who start World War I where 17 million people killed?
    France, Russia, Britain against Germany. Mostly Christians.
    Not Muslim!

    Who Start WW II where 55 million people killed? It’s Christians!
    Read more war such as Crusade War, Iraq and Afghanistan War.

  • Z’d

    I wouldn’t really relate religion to WW I & II in any circumstance here. However it may seem a bit contradictory on my behalf pending my last post, however both world wars were fought between countries, not religions. Adolf Hitler led a campaign against Jews, none can call him a follower in Christ and The Axis including Japan murdered many innocent muslims during their invasion of Asia as well. World War I & II was more or less fought for occupation through aggresion and strenght not to advocate some form of religious crusade.

  • http://media-islam.or.id Agus Nizami

    Just read this.

    From the statistics above, the number 1 killer is the Christians with 177,941,750 victims (World War I kill 17 million people and World War II kill 55 million people. The wars between Germany, British, France, US, etc). It outnumbers the Muslims which only kill 31,943,500 victims.
    Mark Levin in his blog counting the body count between the victims that the Judaeo-Christians kill compared to Muslims:
    In 20th century Judaeo Christians killed 200 million people in Stalin’s era, WW1, WW2, and others while in 1950 population in Northern America and Europe only 720 million. They killed more than 50% of “its own”. While Muslims killed less than 1% of the Judaeo-Christians killing.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Oh, Muslims only notched up 32 million stiffs. That’s all right, then.

    Any way you serve it, Agus – even if, as you did, one lumps in the body count from non-religious wars and other conflicts – if we have to start counting in the tens and even hundreds of millions, it hardly reflects glowingly on organized religions, does it?

  • itzme

    @Diz why u pick Bin Laden as an example of Islam? Islam is what Muhammad (pbuh) and Quran says, not what some Bin Laden says. So, if u wanna know about Islam.., I guess u just found out where to look.
    p.s. Trust me, U “hate” (dont like, whatever) Bin laden same as “We” muslims do. The difference is u hate him couz he is a terrorist, but we do couz he presents Islam totally wrong, so you think muslims are terrorists couz some Bin Laden “Big Muslim”.
    This thinking as I have also have other 99.9 % of muslims all over the world but strange thing is ull never hear that on TV, isnt it?
    (the other (probably even less) 00.1 % are “Threat to world”. LuL.