Religion of peace

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After the September 11 attacks in 2001, some in the Anglophone world described Islam as a religion of peace in an effort to distance it from Islamic terrorists. This was in part, due to the fact the etymological meaning of the word "Islam" is related to the Arabic word salām, meaning "peace".[1]

Usage of the term[edit]

In the past the epithet "religion of peace" was applied to Christianity.[2]

In September 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, U.S. President George W. Bush said: "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war."[3] This prompted criticism from some quarters[4] and a poll of United States Evangelical Protestant leaders taken in 2002 revealed that only 10% agreed with Bush that Islam was synonymous with peace.[5]

Mahathir bin Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia said in 2002, "Islam, as I said, is a religion of peace. However through the centuries, deviations from the true teachings of Islam take place. And so [people who call themselves] "Muslims" kill despite the injunction of their religion against killing especially of innocent people.[6]

Dalil Boubakeur, mufti of the Paris Mosque, said in 2006, "The prophet did not found a terrorist religion, but a religion of peace."[7]


Sherman Jackson believes that the comments of Western politicians about Islam being a religion of peace is an attempt at political correctness. However, Jackson asserts that the expression does not imply a rejection of violence by Islam, but rather admits peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims. [8]

The term "The Religion of Peace" is used mockingly by critics of Islam, such as right-wing commentator Ann Coulter.[9] Philosopher and New Atheist writer Sam Harris wrote, "The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you."[10]

When asked by reporters in 2005 if Islam was a religion of peace, Pope Benedict XVI stated that some elements of Islam can favor peace, but it also has other elements. [11]

Influential Islamist Sayyid Qutb wrote that Islam is the religion of peace in the sense of submitting all of mankind to Allah. [12]

On May 13, 2015, ISIL released an audio message by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who asserted that Islam is not a religion of peace, but rather the religion of fighting. [13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Armstrong, Karen (23 September 2001). "The True, Peaceful Face Of Islam". Time. Retrieved 22 July 2017. The very word Islam, which means "surrender," is related to the Arabic salam, or peace. 
  2. ^ Defensive War not Inconsistent with a Religion of Peace, a cermon, Seeley, Jackson, & Halliday, 1860, p. 11 Quote: "While however it is manifest and unquestionable that Christianity is emphatically a religion of peace and good will towards men — men of all countries and of all climes — it is assuredly not a religion of absolute and passive non-resistance."
  3. ^ ""Islam is Peace" Says President" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary. 2001-09-17. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  4. ^ Till, Farrell (November 2001). "The Real Culprit". The Skeptical Review. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  5. ^ Green, John (2003-04-07). "Evangelical Views of Islam". EPPC and beliefnet. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  6. ^ "Islam, Terrorism, and Malaysia's Response (page 2)". Asia Society. 4 February 2002. 
  7. ^ "Prophet cartoons enraging Muslims". International Herald Tribune. 2 February 2006. Archived from the original on 4 February 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  8. ^ Jackson, Sherman (Spring–Summer 2002). "Jihad and the Modern World". Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. Retrieved 2007-11-22. "Religion of peace" does not imply that Islam is a pacifist religion, that it rejects the use of violence altogether, as either a moral or a metaphysical evil. "Religion of peace" connotes, rather, that Islam can countenance a state of permanent, peaceful coexistence with other nations and peoples who are not Muslims...This position, I shall argue, is no more than the result of an objective application of principles of Islamic jurisprudence which no jurist or activist, medieval or modern, has claimed to reject. 
  9. ^ Siddiqi, Imraan (5 June 2003). "Ann Coulter's Foul Mouth: The Blond Hate Machine". Counterpunch. Archived from the original on 13 June 2003. Retrieved 2007-11-22. Ann on the other hand, apparently missed this Sunday school lesson, and continues to ridicule Islam sarcastically as the "religion of peace" whenever a negative story arises within the Muslim world. 
  10. ^ Harris, Sam (5 May 2008). "Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks". Retrieved 19 March 2011.  (updated 25 May 2011)
  11. ^ "Pope says terror attacks cannot be defined as anti-Christian". Catholic News Agency. 2005-07-25. Retrieved 2016-02-25. I would not like to use big words to apply generic labels. It certainly contains elements that can favor peace, it also has other elements: we must always seek the best elements. 
  12. ^ Qutb, Sayyid. Fiqh al-Da’wah. Fiqh al-Da’wah. IslamQA. pp. 217–222. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2007-11-22. The defeatists should fear Allah lest they distort this religion and cause it to become weak on the basis of the claim that it is a religion of peace. Yes, it is the religion of peace but in the sense of saving all of mankind from worshiping anything other than Allah and submitting all of mankind to the rule of Allah. 
  13. ^ "ISIS Caliph Baghdadi in New Audio Message: 'Islam Was Never a Religion of Peace,' Our Jihad Is 'The War of All Muslims'". The Christian Post. 2015-05-15. Archived from the original on 2015-05-17. Retrieved 2015-05-16. Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting. No one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels. O Muslims, go to war everywhere. It is the duty of every Muslim. 


  • Religion of Peace?: Islam's War Against the World by Gregory M. Davis ( ISBN 0-9778984-4-X )
  • Islam: Religion of Peace and Justice by Muhammad Nawaz ( ISBN 1-4107-6786-8 )

External links[edit]