Claims that Islam is a “religion of peace” is a shameful lie

Douglas Murray at  The Spectator explains why it is a shameful lie to describe any religion, but in particular Islam as a “religion of peace”.

The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris last week.

All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent.

If politicians are so worried about this secondary ‘backlash’ problem then they would do well to remind us not to blame the jihadists’ actions on our peaceful compatriots and then deal with the primary problem — radical Islam — in order that no secondary, reactionary problem will ever grow.

We must confront radical Islam, otherwise it will grow.

Yet today our political class fuels both cause and nascent effect. Because the truth is there for all to see. To claim that people who punish people by killing them for blaspheming Islam while shouting ‘Allah is greatest’ has ‘nothing to do with Islam’ is madness. Because the violence of the Islamists is, truthfully, only to do with Islam: the worst version of Islam, certainly, but Islam nonetheless.

Last week, a chink was broken in this wall of disinformation when Sajid Javid, the only Muslim-born member of the British cabinet, and one of its brightest hopes, dipped a toe into this water. After the Paris attacks, he told the BBC: ‘The lazy answer would be to say that this has got nothing whatsoever to do with Islam or Muslims and that should be the end of that. That would be lazy and wrong.’ Sadly, he proceeded to utter the second most lazy thing one can say: ‘These people are using Islam, taking a peaceful religion and using it as a tool to carry out their activities.’

How many times have we heard this? …from Obama, to Cameron, to many other politicians.

It is a lie.  

Here we land at the centre of the problem — a centre we have spent the last decade and a half trying to avoid: Islam is not a peaceful religion. No religion is, but Islam is especially not. It is certainly not, as some ill-informed people say, solely a religion of war. There are many peaceful verses in the Quran which — luckily for us — most Muslims live by. But it is by no means only a religion of peace.

I say this not because I hate Islam, nor do I have any special animus against Muslims, but simply because this is the verifiable truth based on the texts. Until we accept that we will never defeat the violence, we risk encouraging whole populations to take against all of Islam and abandon all those Muslims who are trying desperately to modernise, reform and de-literalise their faith. And — most importantly — we will give up our own traditions of free speech and historical inquiry and allow one religion to have an unbelievable advantage in the free marketplace of ideas.

Freedom of speech is important to protect…and this is why the gutlessness of the media in the face of Islamic threats is so tragic. the very bastions of free speech, who enjoy certain legal and other privileges are leaving us unprotected through their cowardice.

It is not surprising that politicians have tried to avoid this debate by spinning a lie. The world would be an infinitely safer place if the historical Mohammed had behaved more like Buddha or Jesus. But he did not and an increasing number of people — Muslim and non-Muslim — have been able to learn this for themselves in recent years. But the light of modern critical inquiry which has begun to fall on Islam is a process which is already proving incredibly painful.

The ‘cartoon wars’ — which began when the Danish paper Jyllands-Postenpublished a set of cartoons in 2005 — are part of that. But as Flemming Rose, the man who commissioned those cartoons, said when I sat down with him this week, there remains a deep ignorance in the West about what people like the Charlie Hebdo murderers wish to achieve. And we keep ducking it. As Rose said, ‘I wish we had addressed all this nine years ago.’

Contra the political leaders, the Charlie Hebdo murderers were not lunatics without motive, but highly motivated extremists intent on enforcing Islamic blasphemy laws in 21st-century Europe. If you do not know the ideology — perverted or plausible though it may be — you can neither understand nor prevent such attacks. Nor, without knowing some Islamic history, could you understand why — whether in Mumbai or Paris — the Islamists always target the Jews.

They start with the Jews, but they’ll come for you next.

The night after the Charlie Hebdo atrocities I was pre-recording a Radio 4 programme. My fellow discussant was a very nice Muslim man who works to ‘de-radicalise’ extremists. We agreed on nearly everything. But at some point he said that one reason Muslims shouldn’t react to such cartoons is that Mohammed never objected to critics.

There may be some positive things to be said about Mohammed, but I thought this was pushing things too far and mentioned just one occasion when Mohammed didn’t welcome a critic. Asma bint Marwan was a female poetess who mocked the ‘Prophet’ and who, as a result, Mohammed had killed. It is in the texts. It is not a problem for me. But I can understand why it is a problem for decent Muslims. The moment I said this, my Muslim colleague went berserk. How dare I say this? I replied that it was in the Hadith and had a respectable chain of transmission (an important debate). He said it was a fabrication which he would not allow to stand. The upshot was that he refused to continue unless all mention of this was wiped from the recording. The BBC team agreed and I was left trying to find another way to express the same point. The broadcast had this ‘offensive’ fact left out.

Gutlessness…leaving out a provable fact that exists in a hadith about the actions of Mohammed. Once again the media have been measured, and found wanting.

We may all share a wish that these traditions were not there but they are and they look set to have serious consequences for us all. We might all agree that the history of Christianity has hardly been un-bloody. But is it not worth asking whether the history of Christianity would have been more bloody or less bloody if, instead of telling his followers to ‘turn the other cheek’, Jesus had called (even once) for his disciples to ‘slay’ non–believers and chop off their heads?

This is a problem with Islam — one that Muslims are going to have to work through. They could do so by a process which forces them to take their foundational texts less literally, or by an intellectually acceptable process of cherry-picking verses. Or prominent clerics could unite to declare the extremists non-Muslim. But there isn’t much hope of this happening. Last month, al-Azhar University in Cairo declared that although Isis members are terrorists they cannot be described as heretics.

We have spent 15 years pretending things about Islam, a complex religion with competing interpretations. It is true that most Muslims live their lives peacefully. But a sizeable portion (around 15 per cent and more in most surveys) follow a far more radical version. The remainder are sitting on a religion which is, in many of its current forms, a deeply unstable component. That has always been a problem for reformist Muslims. But the results of ongoing mass immigration to the West at the same time as a worldwide return to Islamic literalism means that this is now a problem for all of us. To stand even a chance of dealing with it, we are going to have to wake up to it and acknowledge it for what it is.

Wake up people…we are at war.


– The Spectator


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  • Lance Ralph

    I can no longer think that Islam is ‘the religion of peace’ To me now that idea is a fantasy.

    Abou Ben Adhem


    Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
    Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
    And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
    Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
    An angel writing in a book of gold:—
    Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
    And to the presence in the room he said,
    “What writest thou?”—The vision raised its
    And with a look made of all sweet accord,
    Answered, “The names of those who love the
    “And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not
    Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
    But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
    Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

    The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
    It came again with a great wakening light,
    And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
    And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

  • BloodyOrphan

    Mohammed was a sociopath, the Quran is his legacy.
    The empirically observed number for sociopaths is society is 3% yet 15% of Muslims are “Radical”, there can only be one reason for that 12% increase …. Mohammads’ sociopathic legacy the Quran, and all the power tripping Imams that use it to influence their followers and retain their power base.

    • Rick H

      Is it just myself, or are there others who think that those of “Western Culture” who go to fight on the side of ISIS – are the type of people who would normally be “criminals, gangsters, outcasts, prisoners” and also those with a very low esteem of what real life is all about?
      To me, they all seem to be that type. An attitude of “I’m going to die anyway; what does it matter how?”
      Once that thought process enters their minds, a chance encounter at one of our many local mosques (complete with radical clerics) the shift to being an extreme fighting muslim is really easy to happen.
      They see their life as being a load of crap anyway; so why not make a mark?

      • Rick H

        Is it time to remove each and every mosque from our fair country?
        And the muslims along with it?

        • BloodyOrphan

          There are a lot of good civilised law abiding Muslims in New Zealand, what we have to do is help them with the Fundamentalists or terrorists that threaten their lives for suggesting the Quran should be re-written for 2015.

  • Garbageman

    As posted by Hard1 on General debate though it needed another post

    Religion of tolerance eh

    • dgrogan

      Sickening. Truly sickening. Notice the carefully chosen rocks [for shape, size and torturous effect] in the image of the woman being stoned to death.

    • intelligentes candida diva

      Vote up is not so much a liking of the link but your research to share reality albeit it hard to take, but is the reality to bear in mind when considering this topic TY

  • dgrogan

    I’m relieved to know there are freedom fighters answering this call. But we should not leave it all up to them. We need to take our part too.

  • caochladh

    Forget the “Lone Wolf” theory that is the rigueur de jour and think “Wolf Pack”. The murdering swine have a global terror network that is just not co-ordinated by electronic means. They also use the tried and true, but slower methods of communication, so whilst its essential to beef up GCSB, we need more spooks on the ground with a licence to kill.

    • ex-JAFA

      SIS have more than doubled their staff since 2001. The number of active agents (obviously!) isn’t disclosed, though.

      • caochladh

        if it is the SIS of old, those will be mainly desk bound analysts.

    • dgrogan

      I believe a “licence to kill” would be a step way too far. The authority to detain and interrogate, I could live with.

      • caochladh

        Once you “detain” them they become a liability. Best just to get rid unless there is a greater need to suck their brains onto a spread sheet.

        • Luis Cannon

          Best to cut the cancer out of our society. Obama wants to close Guantanamo Bay so there will be nowhere to detain them any way. Best to force the radicals back to their homelands, close our borders to them, and let them kill each other on their home soil.

  • sandalwood789

    Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology.
    That is a fact.

    Proof 1 – see here –

    The above site has statistics and the supporting data.
    If you look at the link “Amount of text devoted to the Kafir” (non-Muslims,i.e. us) you see that 64% of the Quran text is about us (and 51% of the overall trilogy (Quran, Sira, hadith).
    No so-called religion can devote half of its texts to those *outside* it and still call itself a “religion”.

    Proof 2 – Islam covers a huge number of areas of everyday life, none of which come under the aegis of “religion”.
    Inheritance law, for example.
    Islamic jurisprudence is called “fiqh” and covers the following categories –
    Criminal law
    Economic law
    Etiquette law
    Hygienical law
    Inheritance law
    Marital law
    Military law
    Political law
    Theological law

    This shows very clearly that “religion” is but a very small part of Islam.

    Proof 3 – The Quran itself implores Muslims 91 times to follow the example of Mohammad – an ordinary person.

    As for “peace” – the fact that the Quran contains over 90 verses calling on Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims says enough about that.

    This is simply meant as a factual and matter-of-fact post about what Islam is.

    • dgrogan

      Essential reading, this. The stats. are impossible to ignore.

  • Mac50

    To quote Bill Maher the other day: “Islam is the religion of peace – a piece of you over there, another piece here, pieces of you everywhere …”

  • HunuaRanger

    “There is no place in the Quran where Muhammad commands Muslims to love
    people of other religions. By contrast there are at least three dozen
    verses that tell Muslims to fight against non-Muslims and about 500 that speak
    of their place in Hell.”

    There is no place in modern society for people who believe this clap-trap, If they (Muslims) can’t live in the west without being offended when confronted by the truth in their own holy books, then they should go back to their stone age home countries and leave the west alone.

    • dgrogan

      Interesting that the addition fiction [Sira and Hadith] written in support of the Qur’an, much of it long after Muhammad’s death, is even more egregious when it come to dealing with un-believers, womens’ rights and honouring and living as the Prophet did.

      Not surprising really when you think about it. How else do you keep everyone in line and stop them thinking for themselves?

      • OneTrack

        No wonder the left loves islam.

  • Hard1

    The Jakarta Post ;

    “We hope that Indonesian Muslim leaders will focus more on what the people need instead of continuously treating women and sex as their main business. Let’s pray that they will soon follow the path exemplified by their predecessors: Dedication to and thorough comprehension of their religion, without hypocrisy.

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that Islam has a great obsession with sex. Woman have to cover themselves because the men cannot control themselves. ISIS takes sex slaves. Polygamy is rampant. Is sex the reward that Muslim leaders use to control the masses of men who follow them ?. Because the woman are forced to follow the men.

    Fatema Mernissi, a Moroccan Muslim feminist, said that in Islam, contrary to western culture, sexual inequality is based on the belief of the biological inferiority of woman. The whole system is based on the assumption that woman is a powerful and dangerous being. All sexual institutions — such as polygamy, repudiation and sexual segregation — can be perceived as a strategy for constraining a woman’s power.

    “The Grand Mufti of Kyrgyzstan was forced to resign amidst allegations of adultery with a woman he says is his second wife. He claimed he had the proper Islamic marriage ceremony with her, but since Article 153 of Kyrgyzstan’s criminal code forbids polygamy, this woman could not have legally been a second wife. Thus came allegations of adultery and calls for his resignation.

    Was he stoned to death ? Nope, just had to resign.

    This is the unwritten pact then. “You follow us and obey our commands and we will give you woman”

  • intelligentes candida diva

    Radical Islam as a must and right and for peace is the delusion purported by the manipulative clerics thus arousing in others the self gratification (virgins in heaven & other alleged heavenly giftings) by sanctimonious violent domination. There are millions or billions of non radical Muslins saying nothing in opposition I just dont get that.

    The idea of The Quran being about Allah appears surmounted by this monster Mohammed … There are too many good people doing nothing and the immans love it and praise the placid good people for their tolerance….. oh the egos and the manipulation. I’m for rattling a few cages.
    Just my uneducated opinion

  • Kevin

    “This is a problem with Islam — one that Muslims are going to have to work through. They could do so by a process which forces them to take their foundational texts less literally, or by an intellectually acceptable process of cherry-picking verses.”

    Fat chance. About the only hope is for modern Muslims to start interpreting their faith within historical context and not keep living like it’s still 750AD.

  • damm good thrashing

    Islam is a disgusting ‘religion’ .

  • david

    Yes its a lie. And our rulers know its a lie. So the next question is why lie? And I think it is a deliberate strategy to try to separate the extremists from the broad church. If we attack Islam, we bring them together and that is exactly what the organisers of these attacks are trying to do. Its a version of the “don’t honour them as terrorists, revile them as criminals.”
    I am interested in the quote about the poetess, because I have had that quoted to me as a situation where Mohammed did turn the other cheek. I don’t have a copy of the book in my possession and if I did I wouldn’t know where to look – can anyone help with the actual quote?