Iowa Has Spoken: Islam Is Peaceful

A new poll has shown that a majority of Republicans and an overwhelming percentage of Democrats who are likely participants in the Iowa presidential caucuses think Islam is peaceful. Now if we could ship them over to the Islamic State, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Thailand, the Philippines and a few other hot spots, they could work on convincing the people who seem to have the hardest time grasping this point: Islamic jihadists.

The Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll was conducted during the last week of January by Selzer & Co. of West Des Moines. Pollsters asked 402 Republicans and 401 Democrats which one of these two statements more closely reflected their own views: “Islam is an inherently violent religion, which leads its followers to violent acts,” or “Islam is an inherently peaceful religion, but there are some who twist its teachings to justify violence.”

Fifty-three percent of the Republicans and eighty-one percent of the Democrats chose the second option. Thirty-nine percent of the Republicans and thirteen percent of the Democrats said that they thought Islam was violent, with the remaining eight percent of the Republicans and six percent of the Democrats apparently not sure why they were being asked about Cat Stevens.

This shows the effectiveness of the constant barrage of media propaganda, the never-ending avalanche of articles and learned talking heads assuring us that when we see Muslims brandishing Qur’ans and screaming “Allahu akbar” as they kill infidels, it doesn’t really have anything to do with Islam. Fifty-three percent of Republicans and 81% of Democrats have been brainwashed to deny what is painfully obvious. The religion whose holy book says “slay them wherever you find them” three times (2:191; 4:89; 9:5) and calls upon believers to wage war against and subjugate members of what are commonly known as the other two great Abrahamic faiths (9:29), and that exhorts believers to behead unbelievers (47:4) is peaceful. Iowa has spoken.

What’s that? The Jewish scriptures contain some violent bits, and therefore Islam is no more violent than Judaism or Christianity? Well, in fact, neither the Jewish nor Christian scriptures have any open-ended and universal calls to believers to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers comparable to Qur’an 9:29, and both Jewish and Christian traditions have mainstream interpretations of violent passages that reject literalism, while literalism is mainstream in Islamic tradition. Nonetheless, the invoking of supposedly comparable passages of the Bible to dismiss concerns about violent exhortations in the Qur’an has become commonplace in the public discourse – which shows how much the public discourse today has become indifferent to inconvenient facts.

Before the triumph of the politically correct ethos, this wasn’t even a controversial point. Majid Khadduri was an Iraqi scholar of Islamic law of international renown. In his book War and Peace in the Law of Islam, which was published in 1955 and remains one of the most lucid and illuminating works on the subject, Khadduri says this about jihad:

The state which is regarded as the instrument for universalizing a certain religion must perforce be an ever expanding state. The Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God’s law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world….The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state. (P. 51)

And in some corners of the world, the question of whether or not Islam is violent is still uncontroversial. Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, assistant professor on the faculty of Shari’ah and Law of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, in his 1994 book The Methodology of Ijtihad, quotes the twelfth century Maliki jurist Ibn Rushd: “Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting with the People of the Book…is one of two things: it is either their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizyah.” Nyazee concludes: “This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation” of non-Muslims.

But back in Iowa, the president of Selzer & Co., J. Ann Selzer, was thrilled by her poll’s results. “The majority,” she exulted, “do not damn the whole religion for the actions of a few.” Nonetheless, she did fret that among the Republicans, “you have more than one in three that considers it a violent religion.”

But the idea that thinking Islam is violent means condemning “the whole religion for the actions of a few” is just an Islamic supremacist talking point, one of many that was cooked up by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its allies, and which by constant repetition has now entered the mainstream. In reality, the question of whether or not Islam is violent can only be answered by examining Islamic teachings, not the actions of a few or even many or most Muslims. This is because people when they act are motivated by all sorts of different things. The fact that a Muslim does something doesn’t make it Islamic.

If Islam has a doctrine of warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers, then it is just grand that many, or most, Muslims disregard or ignore that doctrine, but that doesn’t mean the doctrine itself doesn’t exist. And unfortunately, it does exist. But in Iowa, and all over America, they’ve dutifully swallowed what the propagandists keep serving up.