“Is Islam a religion of terror?” It is a question that many people ask. When people who claim to be doing the will of Allah by being the cause of terrible events such as the attacks of 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings, it is a question that is a fair question to ask. It was a question that I did not have a clear answer on before I started to research. When I asked some people, they adamantly replied that it was indeed a violent religion. Then when I asked other people such as a British Pakistani girl named Meezaab, they replied that it is a religion of peace. Why such a huge difference in opinion? I did not know what to think. However after researching, I came to the conclusion that although most Muslims are probably not violent, Islam itself leans towards being a violent religion. I came to this opinion by looking at the history of Islam, the spread of Islam, Qur’anic texts, the life of Muhammad, and current day practices and occurrences.
Right after the devastating September 11 attacks of 2001, President George W. Bush made a declaration of war on terrorism. In his speech he called “The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics--a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.” It is something I would truly 0like to believe. I would like to believe that Islam is peaceful religion, not fundamentally a violent one. But I don’t think that view would be fully accurate.
A brief look at Islamic History makes my question the peacefulness of Islam. In Chapter 5 of Islam: An Historical Introduction the author Endress explains that during the time Muhammad was alive, he conquered the whole Arabian Peninsula. Then, after his death, the Caliphs under him went on to conquer the land as far away as Spain and India. One in particular named Abu Bakr called the Muslims to fight nonbelievers to get spoils of war (2002). Incidentally, evidence of the Islamic occupation of Spain can still be found. For example, a common Spanish phrase I remember from Spain is ojalá, which means “I hope so, or God willing.” It finds its roots in Arabic.
The Qu’ran can be quite violent at times, especially when it speaks about those who are non-Muslims. There is one passage in particular that stands out. Quran Surat Al-Baqarah (2:191) writes
“And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.”
It goes on to say that they must fight them until there is no more disbelief. I am afraid that I do not understand how that could be considered a practice of a religion of peace. Jesus preached to love your enemies and turn the other cheek, he did not preach for his followers to fight unbelievers until they relented. When...