Islam is being pictured today as a "religion of peace."
Granted, religion can be complicated. Therefore, one must be careful when stating that Islam is not a religion of peace. But in fact it is not.
Nevertheless, it is true that some Muslims believe that their religion is one of peace.
Confused? You are not alone.
So, let's look at some basics:
- Secular Muslims accept Islam as a religion of peace because they are not familiar with the Quran nor the historical realities regarding intolerant Islamic adherents.
- Moderate Muslims are those who have read some of the Quran and take from it the peace statements attributed to Mohammed.
- Zealot Muslims (sometimes referred to as "Fundamentalists") are those who take most seriously the aggressive Quran statements. They may act them out in persecuting or killing "the enemy."
Mohammed himself was a complicated person. He wrote in the Quran statements that are conciliatory toward Jews and Christians. He also wrote statements that are threatening to Jews and Christians. Moderates accept the conciliatory statements. Zealots accept the aggressive statements.
The refined, sophisticated, learned Muslims who reach out to other religions in tolerance are those who are the present-day "window display" models of Muslims. Persons of like nature, whatever their religion, are most reassured to come upon such contemporary examples of the Muslim faith.
However, alongside these tolerant moderate Muslims are the zealots. It is the latter which must be understood today if we are going to be true to the study of Islam and protective of our positions as Christians.
"Islam" means "submission." It means submission totally to Allah, the deity of the Muslim religion.
Zealots who aggressively move against Jews and Christians-the "infidels" — act out this command from Sahih Muslim I, p. l7: "The Messenger of Allah commanded to fight against all people till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the Messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought."
Further, Surah 8:39 of the Quran states: "And fight them or until there is no more tumult or aggression. And there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere. But if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do."
Other quotations from the Quran could be given regarding the Allah-directed right of a Muslim to do away with a non-Muslim.
Country after country today is under threat by the zealot Muslims. This is fact. Others may pontificate on the "Islam is a religion of peace" theme all they want; but the truth is that there are untold numbers being killed each day by zealot Muslims in the name of Allah and his prophet, Mohammed.
In Algeria, Muslims make up 97% of the people. Zealots are aggressively working for the establishment of Shari'a law. Christians suffer violence. Believers' throats have been slit. The Christian witness is not permitted.
In Bangladesh, Christians are frequently denied access to public water wells. Many have been beaten by zealot mobs.
In Brunei, Muslims account for 65% of the people. Christian leaders have been dismissed from the country. Christian literature is not tolerated. Applications for church registration are ignored. Christians must meet in secret.
In Comoros, Christians cannot testify in public. They have undergone harassment and persecution by zealot Muslims.
In Egypt, Christians are treated as second-class citizens. Zealot Muslims frequently attack Christians. There are reports of Christian females being raped and forced to marry Muslims. The Coptic Church, the largest body of believers in the Middle East, is persecuted continually. Some Coptics have been put in prison for "inciting intercommunal strife."
In Indonesia, zealots want to eliminate Christianity completely. Over 600 churches have been leveled. Christians are being forced to convert to Islam. Men, women, and children are coerced to be circumcised. Some Christians are killed out rightly.
In Iran, Christian pastors have been murdered. Believers are not allowed to pursue education or to hold jobs; and they are not permitted to own property.
In Libya, there is a limit of one congregation per denomination in each city. Muslims make up 97% of the population.
In Mauritania, it is against the law for Muslims to enter Christian homes. The government has gone to great lengths to prohibit Christianity from entering the culture.
In Myanmar (Burma), forced conversions are frequent. In 1966, almost all Christian effort was forced to exit.
In Nigeria, believers have been murdered, while Christian buildings have been burnt to the ground.
In Pakistan, much violence against Christians has been daily fare. Numerous Christians have been murdered by mobs. Christians are not permitted in some professions and given lower class tasks.
In order to love one's enemy, one must know the truth about one's enemy.
Christians are to love their enemies, pray for them, and do good toward them. But they are not to be ignorant concerning their beliefs and activities. Jesus said that His own were to be as wise as snakes and harmless as doves.
Just as there are many within Christendom who do not read nor understand the Bible, so there are adherents in every religion. Therefore, there will be those secular and moderate Muslims who are active in "name only." That is, they adhere to certain rituals and basic tenets of Islam, but are not fully knowledgeable concerning Islam nor the zealot acting out of the aggressive commands in the Quran.
Christians must then learn to decipher who it is that the Christian is speaking to when communicating with a Muslim. Is it a secular Muslim? Is it a moderate Muslim? Or is it a zealot Muslim?
But the last thing a Christian can do is to be naive in baptizing the Islam religion as a religion of peace.
Confusing? Yes, it can be. But the bottom line in understanding any of the world religions apart from the revealed truth in Scripture is to understand that the devil is the "author of confusion."
Islam then has been written by the devil. He is the Angel of Light. Therefore the devil can produce a religion that has elements of peace in its devilment.
And this in itself is the start of the understanding of any religion of the world other than the Christian truth.
- J. Grant Swank, Jr.