Is Islam Different?

Figure 1.--.

The terrible attrocities committed by Muslims in the name of Islam against innocent civilians of all faiths (including fellow Muslims) in today's world have apauled and mystified Westerners. Why do we not see adherents of other religions commiting these terrible acts? They lead us to the question, is Islam different than the other major world religions? Westerners with their modern attitudes of toleration and relgious freedom do not want to discuss theology and question another person's relogion. Here were are not just talking about extremists not matter how mumerous. We are talking about the basic nature of the religion, the fundamentals held by the vast majority of Muslims around the world. Muslims who come to Europe and America demand equal rights to practce their faith. And in the West there are in most countries guarantees of religious rights. We wonder if Muslims in the West promote equal rights only because they are in a minority? Notably in majority Muslim countries such guarantees often do not exist. There has over time been a degree of toleration, but levels of toleration have in large measure deteriorated. And even where tolerated, there are signifcant limiitations on religions other than Islam. In Muslim countries is not only a crime to attempt convert a Muslim to another religion, it is a crime for a Muslim himself to convert. An important consideration here is what do Muslims teach their children about other religions.

Union of Religion and State

In te long saga of Western history, a wall devreloped between church and state. The corse of this development varied over time, but by the 20th century the principle was established to varying degrees throughout Europe and America. It was a major concern of the American founding fathers and ensrined in the First Amedment to the Constitution. Even Church leaders now widely accept the basic principle. This same evolution has not occurred in the Muslim world. For centuries the Muslim world was dominated by the Arab Capliph or the Ottoman Sultan. These positions unifoed both religious and government authority. One Muslim observer writes, "Formal Islamic theology, unlike Christian theology, does not allow for the separation of state and religion: they are considered to be one and the same. For centuries, the reasoning of Islamic jurists has set down rules of interaction between Dar ul-Islam (the Land of Islam) and Dar ul-Kufr (the Land of Unbelief) to cover almost every matter of trade, peace and war." [Butt] This fundamrntal principle makes Islam very different than the world's other major religions. It is based on the origins of Islam. It was spread by fervent Arab warriors that imposed their rule and the spremecy of their religion on conquered people.

Justification for Violence

Westerners with their modern attitudes of toleration and relgious freedom do not want to discuss theology and question another person's relogion. A former British Islamic radical tells us, "For decades, radicals have been exploiting the tensions between Islamic theology and the modern secular state - typically by starting debate with the question: "Are you British or Muslim?" But the main reason why radicals have managed to increase their following is because most Muslim institutions in Britain just don't want to talk about theology. They refuse to broach the difficult and often complex truth that Islam can be interpreted as condoning violence against the unbeliever - and instead repeat the mantra that Islam is peace and hope that all of this debate will go away. This has left the territory open for radicals to claim as their own. I should know because, as a former extremist recruiter, I repeatedly came across those who had tried to raise these issues with mosque authorities only to be banned from their grounds. Every time this happened it felt like a moral and religious victory for us because it served as a recruiting sergeant for extremism." [Butt] Primeminister Gordon Brown after the London/Glasgow terror ttacks banned ministers from using the word ‘Muslim’ in connection with the attacks. The Prime Minister also instructed his team including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that the phrase ‘war on ¬terror’ is also to be dropped. These orders are an attempt to improve relations with the Muslim community and avoid offending Muslims. One observer comments, "If we don’t understand, even now, that what we are facing is a religious war, a jihad against the unbeliever and backsliding Muslims across the world we cannot possibly hope to defend ourselves against it. Yet while former Islamist extremists such as Hassan Butt and Ed Husain are urgently telling us the truth, Gordon Brown’s new administration is shutting its ears and embarking on a suicidally stupid and cowardly strategy. Astoundingly, it has decided to deny the religious element of this jihad altogether, to redefine Islamic terrorism as mere criminality and to ban all terms that call this horror by its proper name." [Phillips] Readers should read the Koran and look at the reference to fighting. The Koran seems to suggest that fighting and violence are a central part of Islam.



Other Religions



Teaching Children


Butt, Hassan. "I was a fanatic...I know their thinking, says former radical Islamist," Daily Mail July 2, 2007.

Pjillips, Melanie. "The strategy of consensual dissimulation," July 3, 2007.


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Created: 9:32 PM 7/6/2007
Last updated: 9:32 PM 7/6/2007