"Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today

"Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today

"Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today

"Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today

Synopsis

From the Crusades to September 11th, the prevalent notion among non-Muslims is that Islam was largely spread by the sword and continues to be defined by violence. In fact, that belief is a distortion of the religion's tradition, of its history, and of the actions and beliefs of countless Muslims around the globe today.

Excerpt

ISLAM’S IMAGE

I spent much of my childhood in India, where Hindus and Muslims live and work together at numerous levels. The idea of Muslims being inherently violent goes against a lifetime of my observations. I had Muslim neighbors, friends, and classmates, and the notion that they somehow were more disposed toward violence was ridiculous.

During Ramadan, I remember Muslim neighbors bringing generous amounts of food to our house in the city of Lucknow, a city heavily imbued with Muslim culture. My maternal grandfather’s Muslim friends used to drop by his house. The Muslim residents of our village came to visit us in our ancestral home. I recall the gentle, protective man ferrying my cousins and me to our elementary schools.

So, after 9/11—and the relentless focus on Osama bin Laden, the September 11 terrorists, and their ilk—I’ve felt a responsibility to correct the distorted picture that has emerged of Islam. A number of books have been written on the supposed link between Islam and violence, with a good portion of the output unfortunately consisting of crude Islamophobic tracts, such as the best-sellers Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It and Robert Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Individuals like David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes have made it a full-time crusade to inveigh against Islam, with Horowitz even organizing an Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week on college campuses across the country. Leading evangelists such as Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham have spoken of Islam in the crudest possible terms. Some politicians have pandered subtly—and not so subtly—to the anti-Islam prejudices of many in their base. (President Obama supposedly being Muslim is a political liability he constantly has had to battle during his presidential campaign and his . . .

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