In America, every social discussion regarding Islam invariably begins with a single-sentence disclaimer. Some apologist will loudly declare that “Islam is a religion of peace.” And before allowing conversation to actually begin, that apologist will then insist that only a very small [minor, insignificant, etc] percentage of Muslims are actually violent fundamentalists. My response is a heartfelt “Bolshoi” … and I ain’t talkin’ ballet here.
There are several serious problems with that “peaceful stance” argument.
The first problem is one of simple magnitude. There are over one and a half billion adult Muslims in the world, so even a truly small fraction is still mathematically a lot of people. For the sake of debate, presume the ridiculously tiny fractional multiplier of only one-tenth of one percent (0.1%). If just one out of every thousand Islamic believers is a fundamentalist, then a world-wide army of over one and a half million self-styled “jihadists” exists, and that army wants America totally destroyed. No million-and-a-half strong, well-armed, well-funded, and suicidal militant group can legitimately be described as a “small” [minor, insignificant, etc] threat. Besides, the most realistic estimates currently place the likely membership closer to thirty out of every thousand, making that 1,500,000 number a gross understatement.
The second problem is one of historical reference. Since about 2000BC (beginning with Abraham’s secondary son, Ishmael), Islam has worshiped Allah, the exact same “I AM” god of Abraham (Ibrahim) that Judaism and Christianity call Yahweh and Jehovah. For the first 2,500 years of its existence, Islam was indeed a true religion of peace, although it was not officially codified. Around 600 AD, a man named Mohammed (The Prophet, to current-day believers) finally set down the religious laws and tenets of Islam in writing. But in creating the Q’ran, he added some new and awful material of his own design, such as his demand that Islam be forcefully spread by violence. Absolutely none of his “new” (and evil) material could be in any way considered “peaceful.” Before meaningful conversation is possible, any discussion of Islam must be qualified by whether reference is made to the traditional, historical (peaceful) version or the newer, modified (violent) version… they are not the same.
The third problem is one of interpretation. Militant fundamentalists proudly refer to themselves as “jihadists,” and (erroneously) claim that, because The Prophet insists that the spread of Islam must occur “by the sword,” the Q’ran therefore demands violent action in performance of a jihad. However, as originally created, a “jihad” is an internal – and very personal – mental and spiritual quest to understand Allah’s desires for one’s own life… quite similar to the concept of the Christian faith’s Lent. There is absolutely no exterior action, violent or otherwise, required or specified by the original term “jihad.”