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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

December 11, 2002

VIOLENCE AND ISLAM

Charles Krauthammer says it is immaterial how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or whether Islam to be a religion of peace or war. What matters is the the practice and not the theory.

In his own words
Is Islam an inherently violent religion? A debate on this subject has received much attention in the United States. The question is absurd. It is like asking whether Christianity is a religion of peace. Well, there is Francis of Assisi. And there is the Thirty Years' War. Which do you choose?

Religions are interpreted by the people of their time and thus change over time. Scripture can be invoked to support almost any position. Islam has its periods of violence and its periods of tolerance. The Ottomans gave refuge to the Jews expelled from Catholic Spain in 1492. Today the Arab world is the purveyor of the most vicious anti-Semitic propaganda since Nazi Germany…

Which stands for the real Islam? The question is not just unanswerable, it is irrelevant. The real issue is not the essence of an abstraction--who can say what is the real Christianity or the real Judaism?--but the actions of actual Muslims in the world today. And there is no denying the fact, stated most boldly by Samuel Huntington, author of "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order," that "Islam has bloody borders." From Nigeria to Sudan to Pakistan to Indonesia to the Philippines, some of the worst, most hate-driven violence in the world today is perpetrated by Muslims and in the name of Islam.
Ted Belman tedbel@rogers.com