Not a religion of peace??

The Huffington Post has a video from a few days ago on “Muslim women” saying why Ayaan Hirsi Ali is all wrong about Islam. Quel shock. From the abstract:

Activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been extremely vocal in her critique of Islam. In her new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, she details her issues with its teachings and even declares “Islam is not a religion of peace.”

*gasp* You don’t mean it! She even says Islam is not a religion of peace???! How can she possibly think such a thing, given all the peace spread by Islam right now? Think of those three peace-loving men who chopped Washiqur Rahman to death a few hours ago.

I get that people don’t want to pick on Muslims but let’s be reasonable, ok? Of course Islam is not a religion of peace.

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  1. Deepak Shetty says

    “Islam is not a religion of peace.”
    I have always had problems with statements of this form (whether it says is or is not).
    A religion is an inanimate entity. It’s neither peaceful nor violent. it might prescribe violent things – but most of us are in no danger of reading say the Quran and turning into violent fundamentalists(well no more than our current SJW levels).

    So when someone says Islam isn’t a religion of peace – It actually means to say that the adherents of Islam aren’t peaceful and the only reason to do so specifically , is because someone wishes to imply that that the adherents are the least peaceful of the lot.(Why doesn’t Ayaan Hirsi Ali for e.g. say that neither Islam nor Christianity are religions of peace?)
    If I look to say the middle east , I might conclude the same. If I look at my own country? then Muslims are no more and no less violent than Hindus or Christians.

  2. Deepak Shetty says

    >it seems worth negating.
    Sure in that context. And obviously I dont think I include you in this category – You dont have a high opinion of any of the other religions either 🙂

  3. RJW says

    Yeah sure, ‘Islam is the religion of Peace’ and the ‘German Democratic Republic’ was democratic.
    We also need to distinguish between the tenets of a religion and the behavior of its followers, the observation that some Moslems are peaceful and some Buddhists are violent isn’t a useful indicatior of the nature of either religion.
    Islam is the invention of an Arabian bandit leader, it is inherently violent, unlike Christianity or Buddhism, anyone who has any knowledge of Islam’s early history could not describe it as a ‘religion of peace’.

  4. grumpyoldfart says

    #5 says

    We also need to distinguish between the tenets of a religion and the behavior of its followers

    It doesn’t matter what the tenets may be, those who rise to the leadership level will always interpret and re-interpret the tenets until they coincide with the leader’s agenda. It has never been any other way.

  5. RJW says


    Yes, agreed, however the point under discussion is whether or not Islam, unlike Christianity or Buddhism, is intrinsically violent, i.e. definitely not a ‘religion of peace’, rather than how the religion has been transformed to suit the ruling oligarchy. It’s an academic argument of course, Islam, as currently practised by an alarmingly large percentage of the world’s Muslims, is violent and totalitarian.

    I’m really had enough of the platitudes about ‘moderate Muslims’ and the ‘religion of peace’ from smug and ignorant commentators.

  6. Emily Vicendese says

    Hi Deepak, you said “a religion is an inanimate entity. It’s neither peaceful nor violent” and then you said “when someone says Islam isn’t a religion of peace – It actually means to say that the adherents of Islam aren’t peaceful”. Isn’t that a contradiction? Maybe I’ve misunderstood, but you seem to be saying that it’s an error to attribute behavioural dispositions to a religion; but then saying you CAN attribute behavioural dispositions to a religion because a religion is composed of its adherents.

    Anyway, I don’t think dispositions are the only things that can sensibly be described as “violent”: I can call a movie or a book “violent” simply because it depicts (or, worse, exhorts and/or justifies) violence. If one is using the term “religion” to refer to, say, a system of beliefs, set of texts or body of jurisprudence one can call the religion “violent” without impugning all or even any of its adherents (there could be many different factors for why an adherent of a violent religion is not themselves violent – human behaviour is complicated). It’s true, however, that the term “religion” can be used ambiguously: it can be hard to tell whether someone is referring to a set of beliefs or a group of adherents or both.

  7. says

    Religion of pieces is more like it, considering that the murderers have intentionally used machetes in multiple attacks (see also: Burma 2013, when muslims were the victims). That’s not a tasteless pun nor a generalization of islam, it’s a description of the attackers’ intent and choice of weapon.

    Deepak Shetty (#1) –

    All religions engage in this sort of violence when they have enough power, enough numbers and become as vicious in their dogma. Nobody ever murdered or mass murdered in the name of understanding, reasonableness or kindness. It’s done out of absolute certainty of their beliefs, whether religious or political: “We’re right, you’re wrong, therefore we can kill/exile/jail you.”

  8. abusedbypenguins says

    There is no such thing as “A religion of peace”, only when they have beaten the people to compliance is there peace as each cult/religion defines it to their benefit.

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