After the Sept. 11 attacks it was said, “Islam is a religion of peace.” Some version of this phrase is repeated again with each new attack. It appears to be based upon the belief that all religions are peaceful and the same.
The truth is, all religions are not the same. Some are more militaristic than others. Islam has many good and peaceful attributes, and millions of Muslims condemn violence and terrorism. However, the focus upon jihad (holy war or struggle) is unique among the world’s largest religions.
Islam’s founding was the most militaristic of all the world’s major religions. Mohammed, the ruler of Medina, conquered Mecca and then Arabia. His immediate successors, called caliphs, led Muslim armies to conquer predominately Christian lands throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Jihadist armies conquered Spain, then moved into France, their advance stopped at the Battle of Tours just south of Paris. Later, Islamic armies conquered much of Eastern Europe, reaching Vienna before they were stopped.
Today, ISIS jihadists have conquered much of Iraq and are completing the genocide of Christians in the regions they control using crucifixions and beheadings. The Jewish Museum in Brussels was attacked on May 24, killing four. Mehdi Nemmouche, an Islamist carrying ISIS materials, was arrested for the crime. In June, the Karachi airport in Pakistan was attacked by the Taliban killing at least 36. During May, Uighur Islamists killed 31 in China and wounded 90. Large numbers of churches are being burned and thousands of Christians murdered by Muslim extremists in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. The Boston bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were Chechen jihadists. Boko Haram Islamists have killed thousands in Nigeria, the kidnapping of 300 Christian girls and their forced conversion to Islam is merely a recent atrocity. In May, a pregnant woman was sentenced to death by a Sudanese court under sharia law because she married a Christian and refused to embrace Islam. Islamist suicide bombings have killed tens of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jihadists committed the Madrid train bombings, killing 191 and injuring 2,050. Islamist terrorists set off the London bombings killing 56 and injuring 700. Film director Theo Van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a Moroccan Islamist because of his documentary supporting civil rights for Muslim women. The list seems endless.
A 2007 Pew survey showed 13 percent of American Muslims believed suicide bombings are justified in some circumstances, and 15 percent had at least a somewhat positive view of al-Qaida. Jihadism is a problem everywhere.
One of the stated jihadist goals is the creation of a global caliphate governed by sharia law. This is not limited to al-Qaida, but includes millions of Islamist fundamentalists primarily belonging to Wahhabi and Shiite sects.
Members of any religion are capable of horrendous violence and evil, but can you recall a Jewish, Buddhist, or Roman Catholic suicide bomber who murdered hundreds of innocent people to honor their god?
Just as Marxist philosophy does not accept western democratic principles but seeks the overthrow of freedoms, so too Islamist fundamentalists do not respect Western democracy but seek to impose an Islamic state. Peaceful co-existence between Islamist fundamentalism and Western democracy is not possible.