Religion of Peace

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—G.K. Chesterton, illustrating what "peace" means in this context[1]

"The Religion of Peace" is a phrase often used to describe Islam. It is widely used as an ironic snarl term by people who believe that Islam is anything but peaceful; a good example of this is the website TheReligionOfPeace.com,[2] an anti-Islamic site featuring heavy coverage of violence committed in the name of Islam, though there have been cases of them deliberately taking non-islamic acts of violence and falsely claiming that they're motivated by Islam.

[edit] Origins

The phrase appears to have been coined by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad, who stated in 2002 that "Islam does not promote terrorism. Islam is a religion of peace."[3] A very similar statement was made by George W. Bush the previous year, however, when he argued that "Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace."[4]

Despite the Bush connection, literal (as opposed to ironic) usage of the phrase appears to be generally attributed to the political left.

[edit] Other Religions of Peace

In deciding whether Islam is a religion of peace or not, it is instructive to compare the history of Islam and pacifistic Muslim sects such as the Ahmadiyya and the Mouride Sufi order with that of the traditional peace churches whose members similarly renounce war entirely, such as the Amish and other Mennonite sects, as well as the Quakers. Notably, both the Ahmadiyyas and the Sufis are considered apostate by many other Muslims. On the other hand the most well known Quaker is one Richard N from California and the Mennonites had to repeatedly flee "Christian" rulers who wanted to force them into military service or worse. This is one of the reasons why people in quaint clothing with a fair complexion speaking a Germanic language are a rather common sight in Belize.

Buddhism is often reckoned a religion of peace, but Buddhist monks have been involved in the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, as well as supporting Japanese militarism in World War II.[5][6]

[edit] References

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