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Is Islam a Violent Religion?

By Paul Johnson

January 16, 2007

Let me start by thanking my readers for all the positive (and some not so positive) feedback. I must admit, I didn't expect to get quite as much e-mail as I received. Many of the comments were well thought out and quite reasonable. However there were a few that were based entirely on emotion, devoid of any reason. Please, if you're going to send me feedback, think it through before sending. I enjoy the opportunity to discuss and even argue issues, but if your positiions are based on, "because I believe..." or "I hate..." or "It's a plain as can be...", you might want to stop and ask yourself if your comments are really valid. Don't let that discourage you, though, just try to keep it sensible.

Now, on to the topic of -- Hateful and destructive religions.

I grew up in a very religious household where we were all expected to go to church and repeat the mantras long before we could understand what we were creating habits for. My mother was a Sunday School teacher, a brother is a spiritual author and another brother is a pastor. We were all very caring and respectful except our father who was violent, demanding, and just generally socially unacceptable.

After the 9/11 attacks, Bush repeated over and over how Islam isn't a violent religion but was hijacked by a handful of radicals. In fact, Afghanistan was being run by religious zealots. You know, the kind that believe that their religious books are without flaw.

Islam says that women are to be hidden from society, without a voice, or opinions of their own, and without any education. Yes, that's what their book says. It also says that if you have to kill a non-muslim in order to convert him to Islam, then you'll go to hell if you don't. If your brother abandons these texts, it is your duty to kill him.

Yes, that is Islam. It gets much worse with instructions on how you must cut off the hand and alternate foot of your neighbors for this reason and that, and you must cut off the hands of someone you think was stealing.

Muslims know that their books are violent and that is why they need an interpreter. "You see, the words say that but it's not really what it means. You need a leader to interpret it for you." Call Saddam Hussen or Osama bin Laden. They can tell you what it really means.

Is it acceptable for the moderate Muslims to sit by quietly and let their brothers slip into the mistake of trying to understand the Koran by themselves? Should they talk with their literally correct neighbors and warn them that it's not really supposed to be interpreted literally? Should they say it's not good to be violent, to kill heathens, to cut off hands and feet for punishment? If they don't, they know that their radical neighbors will eventually discredit and dishonor their religion. What's worse is he might poison the minds of others and create a society full of hateful, violent Muslims?

Is that what's wrong with them? They remain quiet when those around them try to interpret the text literally? Why do they continue to follow a book that is so obviously wrong?

To get some perspective, the Koran (Koran and Sura combined) contain around 45,000 lines of text. The King James version of the Bible contains around 100,000 lines, twice the size. The Koran depicts plenty of violence, but then, so does the Bible. Following are counts of just a few words and phrases.

Phrase KoranBible
Kill114 (.25%)225 (.23%)
Burn27 (.06%)667 (.67%)
Cut Off3 (.007%)184 (.18%)
Sever93 (.21%)23 (.02%)
Strangle1(.002%)4 (.004%)
Stab68(.15%)153 (.15%)
Destroy31 (.069%)462 (.462%)
Hate79 (.176%)185 (.185%)

Do you notice that in almost every case, the Bible has a much higher percentage of violent phrases? Is the Bible also at risk of breeding zealots who, reading the words, literally, will become monsters? Is that what caused the last Dark Ages? Reading the text literally?

My hateful, violent father read the Bible regularly and based most of his unsocial behavior on that book.

Who do you allow to interpret the Bible for you? Is he perfect? Many would say Osama bin Laden is perfect. Do you try to discourage religious zealots? Should you?

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