During George W. Bush's tenure as 43rd president, he stated publicly that America's war against terrorism was not a war against Islam. Bush said, in essence, what our current president Obama has said repeatedly: that true Islam is a religion of peace. "Islam means peace," Bush had said back in 2001, as if to prove his point. Presumably, he took his cue from the root word for Islam which is "Salaam". The Arabic "Salaam" is nearly same etymological origin as the Hebrew "Shalom". Both Semitic languages Hebrew and Arabic, use this word to mean peace.
But according to the Qu'ran, Islam's "peace" actually means non-resistance to Islam. The Qu'ran envisions a worldwide caliphate where this is the sole permitted religion on earth. This "peace" is similar to the peace envisioned by Marxist-Leninist theory, where peace is indeed spoken of, but only in terms of non-resistance to Marxist-Leninism. And this is why during the Cold War the Soviet leadership in Moscow could indeed claim to the American negotiators that they were working for peace. "Peace" to the Americans meant "live and let live". To the Soviets, it meant something else. And the same is true with Islam today.
The Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) 04/09/15 Editorial Page carried a column by Sheikh Shawki Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, entitled "Terrorists and Their Quranic Delusions". Allam is claiming that Islamic terrorism is a distortion of his faith. He writes, "The terrorists are totally ignorant and incapable of comprehending the Qu'ran and Hadith, or the objectives of Islamic law and its principles." The Qu'ran, he says " ... should fill hearts of believers with peace and mercy and reverence for religion.: The terrorists, he says " ... completely disregard the Quranic conception of human brotherhood and peaceful relations between Muslims and non-Muslims." Allam continues: "The Qu'ran urges the embrace of people from different religious affiliations.
Now in all fairness to the majority of foreign-born Muslims in the United States today, most simply want to "live and let live." They tend to be moral business-minded people who want to practice their religion quietly, obey their five "surahs" (confession of faith, ritual prayer, obligatory alms, the fast of Ramadan, the pilgrimage to Mecca), and enjoy what's left of the American Dream. But this is despite what their faith teaches, and not because of it.
Several days after Sheikh Allam's column was featured in the WSJ, two editorial responses appeared. One by Harold B. Reisman, a Ph.D. from Carsbad, CA, the other by a "Rev. Dr. David Trawick" of San Antonio, TX. In essence, they accused Sheikh Allam of being disingenuous about his Islamic faith. Between both Reisman and Trawick, they made three points which are important for Americans to be aware of whenever they hear Islam's "religion of peace" rhetoric, either from an uninformed American president like Bush, or one like Obama with a more harmful agenda, or a Muslim apologist like Sheikh Allam who's trying to paste a smiley face over top of 1400 years of an inherently violent religion:
1) The Qu'ran teaches two standards of truth-telling; one for fellow-Muslims and one for the "kufar" (the unbeliever). To the unbeliever, a Muslim may use "kitman", i.e., an incomplete or partial communication that is religiously permissible when the full truth might be injurious to Islam. (Sura 5:32). In other words, no Muslim scholar or Imam need tell a non-Muslim what he really believes if he feels it will hurt his cause.
2) There's something called the "Quranic Law of Abrogation". In Islam, the belief is that later revelations in the Qu'ran negate or replace earlier revelations in the same book. (Surah 2:106). What this means is that all the peaceful "live and let live" passages that Barak Obama and Sheikh Allam like to refer to, are abrogated by later passages in the same book that call for violent war against the unbeliever until he is subdued and taxed; or killed. By that criteria, ISIS and other terrorists groups are truer expressions of Islamic faith than the views of Egypt's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Allam.
3) Islam is not just the teachings of the Qu'ran itself. It also embodies much Islamic "sacred" tradition that interprets that book. Take for example the Pact of Umar, a legal ruling dating from the time the Qu'ran was written, which clearly describes the status of the "dhimmi". Dhimmi are non-Muslims living under Islamic rule. At the discretion of the caliph of a region, they may be permitted to live if they submit to a heavy tax. Or not, it's up to the caliph. That's why ISIS daubed the Arabic letter "N" on the homes of Christians in Iraq before they killed them: they were giving them the option of being taxed or fleeing. Or else. So this is not quite the "embrac[ing] of peoples from different religious backgrounds" that the Grand Mufti of Egypt is claiming in the WSJ!
"Sharing Your Faith With Jewish Friends: Ten Tips" ("On Demand" pre-recorded broadcast at www.blogtalkradio.com/fougcrew). Available Thursday, July 23rd.