Life as I know it… plus commentary

Islam = Peace?

with 6 comments

What did the Pope say?

Benedict had quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

“The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said.

“He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,”‘ he quoted the emperor as saying. 

The pope did not explicitly agree with nor repudiate the comment.

And how have the non violent, peace loving Muslims reacted?

NABLUS, West Bank — Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, following remarks by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many Muslims.  


A protest organizer, whose opinions are largely shared by the Muslim comunity said, “Of course as we know the meaning of jihad can only be understood by Muslims,” Budianto told the crowd. “Only Muslims can understand what jihad is. It is impossible that jihad can be linked with violence, we Muslims have no violent character.”


The Organization of the Islamic Conference, in a statement released Thursday, said it “regrets the quotations cited by the pope on the Life of the Honorable Prophet Mohammed, and what he referred to as ‘spreading’ Islam ‘by the sword.'”

“The attribution of the spread of Islam around the world to the shedding of blood and violence, which is ‘incompatible with the nature of God’ is a complete distortion of the facts, which shows deep ignorance of Islam and Islamic history.” (emphasis my own)

Saying there was blood and violence attached to the spread of Islam shows ignorance of Islamic history?  Really?

Let’s look at some highlights from Muhammad’s life (taken from the Wikipedia article on Muhammed)

622 Emigrates to Medina (Hijra)
624 Battle of Badr Muslims defeat Meccans
624 Expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa
625 Battle of Uhud Meccans defeat Muslims
625 Expulsion of Banu Nadir
626 Attack on Dumat al-Jandal: Syria
627 Battle of the Trench
627 Destruction of Banu Qurayza
627 Bani Kalb subjugation: Dumat al-Jandal
628 Treaty of Hudaybiyya
c628 Gains access to Mecca shrine Kaaba
628 Conquest of the Khaybar oasis
629 First hajj pilgrimage
629 Attack on Byzantine empire fails: Battle of Mu’tah
630 Attacks and bloodlessly captures Mecca
c630 Battle of Hunayn
c630 Siege of Taif
630 Establishes theocracy: Conquest of Mecca
c631 Subjugates most of the Arabian peninsula

Look at all this as well as the last 50 years… the Munich Olympics, plane hijacking, missile launching into unarmed cities, suicide bombers, the 2002 Bali bombing, 9/11, Madrid train bombing, London subway bombings… despite the consistent unrelenting adminition that Islam is about peace, does anyone really believe this is a religion of peace anymore?


Written by arnold

September 16, 2006 at 10:33 am

Posted in Religion

6 Responses

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  1. Doesn’t the Christian religion look violent to Muslims in Iraq who are being bombed (by a Christian nation led by a Christian president)? Also, white supremacists have a history of violence. So did the Nazi regime. So did Timothy McVay. All Christians. You may perceive subtle differences, but the average Muslim doesn’t…just like we don’t perceive the subtleties of Muslim religion and culture.

    As we know all too well, it’s easy to find bad spokesmen for a religion (whether 9/11 terrorists, white supremacists, etc.) . Investigating the religion itself takes more effort.

    Incidentally, I think the Pope’s words were wholly misunderstood, likely intentionally, by an angry world looking to be the next “offended and oppressed minority” and otherwise just generate ill-feelings toward Christianity and the West.

    the kyle

    September 16, 2006 at 5:42 pm

  2. I think there is a difference between doing an act for religious purposes than for doing it for political reasons or nationalistic reasons or ethnic reasons. Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon, it was a nationalistic force that used ethnic cleansing as a uniting tool. This is wholly different than using religion as a motivator. If religion is the primary motivator behind action, then we can compare religions (comparing like items to like items) to other religions to determine how well their world view plays out.

    Consider not just my list of world calamities but of all the religion based calamities in the last half century… if religions bred the same amount of religious nuts, we’d see only 21% (1 in 5)of the terrorist acts in the world caused by Muslims.


    September 16, 2006 at 6:06 pm

  3. It seems like you’re implying that Nazism was a “political” phenomenon and current terrorism is a “religious” phenomenon. If so, that’s pretty overly simplistic. I don’t think Middle-Eastern culture has such a sharp line between the two as we do in the West (“religion” in the West being “what one does with his private time” totally foreign to other cultures). They wouldn’t understand that kind of religious/political divide. There was too much Christian rhetoric in 1930s Germany and there’s too much political and cultural interests in contemporary Islam.

    That said, your note of irony at the violent reactions of Muslims to the Pope’s reaction is very interesting. Having looked into those violent events a little (an Italian nun was shot dead in Somalia, not to mention fire bombs at Catholic churches), I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more made of those incidences. But I suppose we’re back on the topic of the media.

    the kyle

    September 17, 2006 at 2:45 pm

  4. I am being “oversimplistic”, to use your language, because the things we’re talking about here are, in fact, simple.

    Regarding Nazism:

    Hitler began to claim the Jews were natural enemies of what he called the Aryan race. He held them responsible for Austria’s crisis. He also identified certain forms of Socialism and especially Bolshevism, which had many Jews among its leaders, as Jewish movements, merging his anti-Semitism with anti-Marxism. Blaming Germany’s military defeat on the 1917 Revolutions, he considered Jews the culprit of Imperial Germany’s military defeat and subsequent economic problems as well. – from the Wikipedia article on Hitler

    Hitler’s rise to power and the main propelling forces of Nazism were two fold… racist, stemming from Hitler’s anti-Semetic beliefs and his belief in the superiority of the Aryan race & socio-economic, in that he united the poor and disenfranchised as the stepping stone to power.

    Regarding Middle Eastern culture:

    As far as wether Middle Eastern culture does what it does for religious reasons, I give you the statement given for the reasons for the London bombing.

    In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace be upon him.
    Nations of Islam and Arab nations: Rejoice, for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic Mujahideen [holy warriors] have carried out a blessed raid [ghazw] in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters.
    We have repeatedly warned the British government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our Mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.
    We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.
    Allah says: “If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly”

    Further… if you listen to what Middle Easterners say about the West, it’s not so much about country vs country or rich vs poor, but they make statements about how the West are infidels, the great Satan, and enemies of Islam… all referring to the difference in religion.


    September 17, 2006 at 3:25 pm

  5. I’m looking for a new superlative, it appears that “over-simplistic” is no longer strong enough. 🙂

    Suffice it to say here: Islam — not to mention the world of the Middle-East as a whole — is vastly more complicated than the paragraph that you lifted from, well, whatever that quote came from. Politics and religion are inextricably linked. The fact that we don’t understand that is one of the biggest obstacles to meaningful dialogue.

    the kyle

    September 17, 2006 at 4:01 pm

  6. I love what this guy says:

    In Brussels, the European Commission’s spokesman, Johannes Laitenberger, defended the Pope’s right to free speech and said urged people not to take his words out of context:

    “Reactions that are disproportionate and tantamount to rejecting freedom of speech are unacceptable”, he said.


    September 18, 2006 at 11:32 am

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