Politicians and news commentators have been portraying Islam as a religion of peace. Desperate not to antagonize the Arab and Moslem world as America wages a war on terrorists, President Bush and others have asserted that Islam is a religion of peace. But Islam is not now, and never has been, a religion of peace. We, as a church, condemn any backlash against innocent people of any religion, and especially Muslims who do not actively attack civilians here and abroad. But it is a gross misrepresentation to assert that Islam is a peace-loving religion and that the Koran (or Quran) does not encourage terrorism. Everything in Islam's history contradicts any claim of a peace-loving belief system. Most wars and armed conflicts taking place today are between Muslims and some other group or nation. The Taliban and al Qaida in Afghanistan, the Abu Sayyef in the Philippines, the Albanians fighting in Macedonia, the Hamas and Hezbollah in Israel, the Chechen rebels in Russia, are all Muslim terrorists. Islam was born in violence and has been a religion of the sword ever since.
Today, mullahs and ayatollahs enforce Islam's laws by flogging people, chopping off their hands, and stoning. Brutal punishments are meted out in many Muslim nations, including the northern parts of Nigeria and northern Sudan. Virtually every Muslim denies Israel's right to exist. Even those who condemn the September 11 attacks on America will cry "Destroy Israel" with the same breath. How long will it be until the suicide bombers invade the streets of the U.S.? The Muslims burst upon the scene in the 6th Century. Their armies swept over much of the earth. They were the al Qaidas of the time, with Mohammed as their Osama bin Laden. They overran much of Asia, all of the Middle East, all of north Africa and Spain, captured Greece and threatened all of Europe before they were stopped in France. Mohammed, claiming to be speaking as an oracle of Allah, commanded that all those who do not obey his commands are to "be killed or they should be nailed on a tree or their hands and legs be cut off, or they be driven out of the land...for that is their shame here on earth and in the world to come." Sura 5:36.
The Koran commands Muslims to behead anyone who does not accept the teachings of Islam. Sura 47:4,7. Islam still believes that the world belongs to it, and many Muslims are willing to take it by force. The 56-nation Organization of Islamic Conference has called for "brethren throughout the Muslim world" to reinstate a strong and united Ummah (brotherhood) determined to fulfill the commands of Allah. These commands include bringing Jerusalem under Arab rule, stamping out Christianity, and doing away with democracy. An OIC communiqué of Nov. 28, 1989 sets out one of its objectives: "To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non Muslim religions [including Christianity] in a member nation..." and "to ensure the ultimate replacement of all western forms of legal and judicial systems with the Sharia in all member nations." According to the Koran, there can be no peaceful co-existence between followers of Islam and the "infidels," because Allah requires either conformity or death. For Islam, "sallam" (peace) is not achieved until a land is conquered for Allah.
Peace means the total eradication and subjugation of their enemies. There is a principle in Islam known as Takiya, the right to fake peace when you are weak for the purposes of defeating an enemy later, when you are stronger. Takiya is based upon a precedent set by Muhammed in the early years of Islam. He was unable to defeat the tribe who lived in Mecca, so he met with their leaders at a small oasis, called Hudaybiyah, and signed a 10-year peace treaty.
Two years later when his forces were stronger and the Meccans were secure in peace, Muhammed broke the treaty with a surprise attack. Yasser Arafat, on May 15, 2002, said, "Let us remember the Hudaybiyah Conciliation Accord out of our concern for the national and pan-national solidarity with your peope and your cause ever." Even if Muslim terrorists enter into a treaty they do not believe that they are bound to any agreement they make with non-believers. The September 11 attacks on the United States were religiously-motivated. Admittedly, most Muslims in this country are not bent on killing their neighbors or creating mayhem in their communities. And anyone who attacks Arabs or Muslims because of their religion should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But that does not mean that Islam is a peaceful religion. Despite the fact that most Muslims are not bend on killing their neighbors and creating mayhem in the community, the current was on terrorism is about religion.
Salman Rushdie, a Muslim who was sentenced to death by Islamic clerics for publishing The Satanic Verses in 1988, recently wrote the following: "'This isn't about Islam.' The world's leaders have been chanting this mantra for weeks, partly in the virtuous hope of deterring reprisal attacks on innocent Muslims living in the West, partly because if the United States is to maintain its coalition against terror it can't afford to suggest that Islam and terrorism are in any way related. The trouble with this necessary disclaimer is that it isn't true." A few months ago, the "mood" of the Arab world was measured by an opinion poll done by the Okaz newspaper. Participants in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, Sanaa, Aden and the Gaza Strip were asked who was the worst person on earth in 2001. Perhaps not surprisingly, 56% named Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But a very significant 29% named US President George W. Bush.
Much of this poll was conducted among so-called moderate Islamic states, and nearly one-third of the participants considered President Bush the worst person on earth. Only 11% named Osama bin Laden. 89% of Arabs polled believe that there are worse perpetrators of evil on earth than the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the USA. The same poll found that only 33% of Arabs believed that the 9/11 attacks were the worst outrage of 2001. Nearly an equal number, 27%, considered the US-led attack on Afghanistan to be the year's worst outrage. The current war on terrorism is a battle of civilizations - whether we admit it or not. The hatred now being directed toward the United States is only partly due to our support of Israel. But the radical Muslims (and that is the fastest-growing version of Islam in the world) would still hate the West. They hate Israel because it represents a small bastion of Western freedoms, virtues and values.
To them, Israel is a humiliating intrusion of the West into a speck of land that they consider sacred to Allah. Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed a hope for "a region (the Middle East) where all people worship God in a spirit of tolerance and understanding." It will not happen without the return of Jesus Christ. No one can point to a single Islamic state where tolerance and understanding are extended to non-Muslims. There will be no tolerance in an eventual Islamic Palestinian state. There is no tolerance and understanding among our so-called "friends" in the Arab world. In September 1992, the government of Saudi Arabia beheaded Sidiq Mulallah. His crimes: he abandoned Islam in favor of Christianity, and he took a copy of the Bible into that nation. The Koran, Sura 4:89, requires death for any Muslim who embraces Christianity. It is naïve to think that it is a sign of love and solidarity to pray and worship with Muslim clerics. The Word of God prohibits spiritual mingling. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?" II Corinthians 6:14-15.