The religion of peace?

What, exactly, is ‘moderate Islam’?

“In December 2006, during his visit to Istanbul, [Pope] Benedict [XVI] backed Turkey’s admission into the EU, prayed toward Mecca in a mosque, and called Islam ‘a religion of peace, tolerance, and love.”

Prof. Gil-White, Historical Investigative Research


For those not familiar with him, Pope Benedict XVI (see above quote) is the head of the ‘Catholic Church,’ a worldwide and influential religious institution. The Catholic Church is not a Muslim sect, and the popes of the medieval past — who in fact referred to Muslims as ‘heathens’ and ‘infidels’ — would have called Benedict an ‘anti-Christ’ (an agent of ‘Satan’) and burned him alive at the stake for praying in a mosque toward Mecca while functioning as a priest of the Church.

Some things have obviously changed in the Catholic Church.

One might say that the Catholic Church is joining the spirit of the times, because Pope Benedict’s assessment of Islam is very common in the Western mass media. This admits of a simple statistical demonstration. On 7 January 2007, I asked the Lexis-Nexis database to give me all appearances, just in the major Western newspapers it archives, of the word ‘Islam’ within 10 words of the phrase ‘religion of peace,’ and it returned 738 results. By contrast, when I asked for all appearances in the same database of the word ‘Islam’ within 10 words of ‘religion of war’ I got only 66 results. This means that Westerners hear in the mainstream mass media that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ more than 11 times more often than they hear the opposite argument. (And many of those 66 results, I must point out, were about how specific individuals got in trouble for saying that Islam was a ‘religion of war,’ so the true ratio is arguably higher.)

If we accept the common media representation of Islam, then those Muslims who quite obviously and openly preach war cannot be true or orthodox Muslims (despite the fact that they seem quite numerous), and therefore some qualifier will be needed to label their movements. Thus, we often encounter the terms ‘fundamentalist Islam,’ ‘radical Islam,’ ‘Islamo-fascism,’ ‘Islamism,’ and ‘Islamist terrorism’ when the media makes reference to warlike Muslim movements. By logical necessity, under this interpretation, the term ‘moderate Islam’ will refer to those Muslims who adhere to the traditional, orthodox, and true nature of Islam, which in this view is peace.

Should we rush to accept this common media representation of Islam, now pushed also by the head of the Catholic Church?

I think that might be rash. Although Pope Benedict XVI is certainly entitled to his own opinion, he is not a Muslim cleric or scholar. So before we commit ourselves to an interpretation it is probably wise at least to consult the recognized Muslim authorities on what the mission of Islam is supposed to be. If the interpretation of Muslim authorities agrees with Pope Benedict, very well. But if it doesn’t, it would be absurd to privilege the views of the Catholic Pope over the views of those who have defined Islam for millions of Muslims throughout the ages.

The first thing I will do is contrast the modern media interpretation of the word jihad, the central concept in Islam, with that of a famous 20th century Muslim cleric and scholar. Then I will look at the views of medieval Muslim clerics and scholars, and finally at the views of modern Muslims whom the Western mass media loudly calls ‘moderates.’

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January 9, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. The question “What, exactly, is ‘moderate Islam’?” is like asking “What exacly is a good natured serial killer?” or “Was Jack the Ripper and Geoffrey Dahmer just two misunderstood nice guys?”

    The fact that the head of the Catholic Church would go along with and defend these muslim fruitcakes speaks volumes about the anti-Semitic rot that has set inside the Vatican.

  2. I appreciate that the author referred to the Pope as “Pope Benedict XVI … is the head of the ‘Catholic Church,’ a worldwide and influential religious institution” and did not refer to him as a Christian. The Pope effectively converted to Islam by his recent acts so now Catholicism, which was never “Christian” because they “speak not according to the Word” is now a dhimmi of Islam.

    On a lighter note, please read Don Feder’s latest re Imam Ellison and Rep. Virgil Goode (R, VA.) entitled LEARNING ABOUT ISLAM WITH IMAM KEITH. It’s hilarious and Don at his sarcastic best! Excerpt below.

    …Poor, ignorant Virginia backwoodsman that he is, Goode just doesn’t know enough about Islam to appreciate its exquisite beauty and lofty principles – like the thing about Jews being the descendants of apes and pigs.

    We all have much to learn about Islam, and perhaps the Minnesotan can help to enlighten us.

    But first, consider this: The book which Ellison will proudly schlep to his swearing-in has been used to justify the following:

    * The Madrid bombings of 2004, the London bombings of 2005 and the plot to blow up as many as 11 trans-Atlantic flights that unraveled in 2006

    * The Beslan massacre – where 186 Russian school children and 158 adults died in a hostage crisis in 2003

    * Rioting in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Libya (over Danish cartoons dissing Mohammed) in which 139 were killed

    * A series of blasts in Mumbai, India, in July, which left 209 dead and more than 700 injured

    * Attacks during this year’s celebration of Ramadan (280 in 17 countries) in which more than 1,600 were killed. I didn’t kill anyone for Hanukah. Guess I’m just not serious about my religion.

    * The murder of a priest and a nun, the firebombing of churches in the West Bank and multiple death threats following the Pope’s comments on Islam and the balance between faith and reason

    * The ethnic cleansing of 90% of Kosovo’s pre-1999 Serb population, not to mention the destruction of hundreds of churches, monasteries, convents and shrines in the province

    * The ritual slaughter of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh …

  3. I guess, that you little test on the words islam and religion of peace was done in English. But in Denmark, where I live, the term “religion of peace” is very often used ironically. For example headlines such as: “The religion of peace: terror in Baghdad” can actually be seen here several times a week. I have seen that in American newspapers also.

    Actually, even the left wing in Denmark have stopped using the term “religion of peace”. We all know better. The left wing find other plus words, – this term has become too “cartoon-ish”… 😀

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