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Religion of Peace?

Reader comment on item: What Do Terrorists Want? [A Caliphate and Shari'a]
in response to reader comment: Terrorists are not muslims.

Submitted by John Harknes (United States), Jul 30, 2006 at 17:03

I am augmenting my reading "The Sword of the Prophet" with extensive web searches on topics mentioned in the book. There are many interesting aspects to this exploration, but one stands out in the comments by tariq, above.

I have seen many comments in support of the book, mostly reasoned but a few racist. I have seen only a few attacks of the book, all by Muslims. Almost all of the attacks are of one of two varieties: incoherent rants of with no useful content on one hand or the unsupported claim, as by tariq, that Islam "is a religion of peace" on the other.

The problem that I have with this claim is that it blatantly contradicts the literal Koran. If true Islam requires following the Koran then few in the civilized world would survive the imposition of Sharia. This is not what an objective observer could possibly characterize as a "religion of peace."

9:5, But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.

9:39, Unless ye go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least.

8:12, I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them

Within Christianity the excesses of the Old Testament are superseded by the New Testament and a considerable body of theology based upon the concept that "God is Love." There is no evidence in my search of a corresponding Islamic theology that authoritatively releases a believing Muslim from the literal interpretation of the Koran – an Islamic Reformation that would make it believable that modern Islam is a religion of peace. Even the generally benign Islamic websites that I have seen will not commit blasphemy by proposing any reinterpretation or softening of the Koran.

Thus I cannot find any evidence that mainstream Islam has marginalized its violent fundamentalists. Active pursuit and slaughter of infidels is a requirement of the Koran and thus, ultimately, of all Muslims regardless of the current strength of their convictions.

Where might there be unequivocal and authoritative evidence that some sects within Islam no longer hold the bloody requirements of the Koran to be binding?
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