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Author Topic: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?  (Read 12869 times)

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Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #200 on: October 03, 2014, 10:19:35 PM »
So what's the difference in saying the world would be better off without black people, or homosexuals? Name the difference? You can't. It's racism and that's the end of it. You've crossed a line Sabby.

I don't want to aggravate anybody here but it has already been outlined a few times by other members that Islam is a choice while race, and sexuality are not. Race and sexuality are genetic, religion is not genetic. Aside from that, as an atheist, I believe when a religious person devotes himself to his religion so deeply that he considers it an inseparable part of himself he crosses a very dangerous threshold. At that point only God's will dictates his actions, either through his religious leaders or the holy scripture or some other signs. If it's God's will to have him storm into a burning building to save a child, he'll do it, neglecting his own safety. And that is very noble. But at the same time if it's God's will to kill a few infidels...

Also, correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the Sharia law infringe heavily upon women's rights as well as order Muslims to stone homosexuals? It's not so hard to see why some of us are skeptical of Islam. It is not just a religion but an ideology that seeks to govern all areas of life. Politics, relationships, jurisdiction, apostasy. I'll be blunt and say I don't think the Muslim community, as a whole, would return your gay friends the same favour you're doing Islam by defending it so fiercely.

Simply put an ideology that is intolerant towards other views is not compatible with western values and thus cannot co-exist with them.


But maybe I'm speaking out of ignorance once again. Maybe somebody more knowledgeable could correct me and point out how the Sharia law could actually co-exist with western values? Such as equal rights to all, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and so forth.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #201 on: October 03, 2014, 10:36:20 PM »
I think what is happening in this thread is that Sheoldred and Sabby are criticizing the impact of Islam on Western institutions and values, while Dashenka is intepreting their wording to be an intolerance towards individual Muslims.

I am cautiously optimistic that no one here is suggesting we should actively discriminate against individual Muslims.  There are more than a billion Muslims in the world, and the overwhelming majority of them are peaceful.

However, criticism of Islam's permeating influence into Western institutions, is certainly worthy of discussion.

Offline Cheka Man

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #202 on: October 03, 2014, 11:06:27 PM »
It's not Islam that's the problem as such, it's violent jihadists. Who kidnap Americans and saw through their necks, then put it online. Who crashed  planes into buildings on 9/11, and who suicide bomb in public places. That and much of mainstream Islam sees women as inferior.

Having said that, I admire some things within Islam. They bury their dead, the idea of zakat, which is money given to the poor, is good as well, and whatever one might think about Islam, good or bad, it does stick up for itself.

Offline Shjade

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #203 on: October 04, 2014, 12:53:15 AM »
However, criticism of Islam's permeating influence into Western institutions, is certainly worthy of discussion.

Is it worthy of discussion in a topic questioning the peaceful, rather than political, nature of the religion?

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #204 on: October 04, 2014, 01:13:58 AM »
The OP seems to be suggesting that part of the reason Islam is not a peaceful religion (which is a tenuous assertion at best from a religious perspective) is that it is a religion that seeks to make significant inroads into the political and institutional fabric of Western society.  One can make this case about Christianity as well.

This is the major difference between Christianity and Islam today. Once Islam gains a good foothold in a country they push to establish the Sharia law in their ghettos, and later all across the country. Islam is not just a religion, which makes up only a portion if it, its also a political system.

There is certainly validity in suggesting that the "political wing" of Islam in Europe is antithetical to Western values.  Though the OP seems to be both criticizing the politicization of Islam and the religion itself.

Earlier in this thread, I mentioned the book, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer, which Sheoldred claimed to have also read.  Unlike what Sheoldred has been stating in the 2nd half of this thread, Bawer was not criticizing the religion of Islam itself, but rather, the manner in which Islamic immigration into Europe has been handled (lack of integration and formation of ghettos).  Much of the horrific events that have been taking place in recent months in Europe are more related to the improper handling of Muslim immigrants, rather than issues with the religion itself. 

As such, I think the discussion of the politics surrounding Islam is critical in this conversation.  Bawer suggests that had immigration been handled in Europe in a manner similar to the United States (integration with a melting pot approach), much of the political radicalization in Europe would not have occurred.

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #205 on: October 04, 2014, 02:29:47 AM »
Is it worthy of discussion in a topic questioning the peaceful, rather than political, nature of the religion?

I apologise for the proper lack of structure. But since Islam strives to cover more than just religion, I think it is appropriate to discuss its political nature as well. The Sharia law, for one, is highly political although it can also encompass private lives. The Sharia law, as far as I know, is based off the Quran, the Hadith and the Sira, and each Muslim school has its own interpretation of it. And while I'm certain many Sunni muslims, and other peaceful Muslims, only wish well it seems like they're inadvertently pushing the agendas nonetheless. See in this video, for example.



This guy seems like he means well with his videos. But notice at 4:00 he says, 'I want you to ask yourself: why are there 1,7 billion Muslims that are eager to implement the way he(Muhammad) lived to the absolute core, from the way we enter the bathroom to the way we would govern an entire country.'

Never mind all the implications of the Sharia law, marrying religion with the government is a relic of the past, at least here in the West. Muslim radicals protest in Europe when the government does not give them their 'rights' to practice their religion in its entirety and authenticity.

But what are the implications of that quote and what we've seen happening in some parts of Europe? What is Islam's ultimate aim? If you follow Muhammad, does that not mean that you should strive to convert people and eventually establish Islamic law above any other?

Offline Dashenka

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #206 on: October 04, 2014, 02:50:47 AM »
I don't want to aggravate anybody here but it has already been outlined a few times by other members that Islam is a choice while race, and sexuality are not. Race and sexuality are genetic, religion is not genetic.

I don't believe that. If you are born in a strictly religious country (good or bad) religion is not a choice. Also I don't think sexuality is genetic but that's a different discussion :)

Also, correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the Sharia law infringe heavily upon women's rights as well as order Muslims to stone homosexuals? It's not so hard to see why some of us are skeptical of Islam. It is not just a religion but an ideology that seeks to govern all areas of life. Politics, relationships, jurisdiction, apostasy. I'll be blunt and say I don't think the Muslim community, as a whole, would return your gay friends the same favour you're doing Islam by defending it so fiercely.

To Arabic-speaking people, sharia (shariah, shari'a, sharīʿah; Arabic: شريعة‎ šarīʿah, IPA: [ʃaˈriːʕa], "legislation"), means the moral code and religious law of a prophetic religion.[1][2][3] The term "sharia" has been largely identified with Islam in English usage.[4]

According to Google. I'm not 100% sure about what the Sharia law is exactly, I'm sure Formless could tell you much more about it but I'm pretty sure that, as with so many things, the sharia law the extremists use is very different from the original ideology.


Simply put an ideology that is intolerant towards other views is not compatible with western values and thus cannot co-exist with them.


I agree, but Islam is not intolerant towards other views. In fact, Christianity is.

However, criticism of Islam's permeating influence into Western institutions, is certainly worthy of discussion.

The extremist muslims yes. I have no problem with the islam permeating into western institutions as long as people respect each other. I think that is the keyword. Respect.

It's not Islam that's the problem as such, it's violent jihadists. Who kidnap Americans and saw through their necks, then put it online. Who crashed  planes into buildings on 9/11, and who suicide bomb in public places. That and much of mainstream Islam sees women as inferior.

That's not what you said before. I'm sorry after what you said before I'm not taking you seriously again. Also think you are the luckiest person on Elliquiy at the moment

Offline Zakharra

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #207 on: October 04, 2014, 11:48:30 AM »
I don't believe that. If you are born in a strictly religious country (good or bad) religion is not a choice. Also I don't think sexuality is genetic but that's a different discussion :)

 I think that's what you're missing. Sexuality and race are genetic, there's nothing you can do about it really, religion, even if you live in a country that forces it on you, is not genetic. You have a choice you can make in believing the religion or not. Even in countries that basically force it on you. You don't have to believe in it, but you can just lie and give it lip service. Which is again, not believing in it.

 
Quote
The extremist muslims yes. I have no problem with the islam permeating into western institutions as long as people respect each other. I think that is the keyword. Respect.
/quote]

 I have to disagree with this. I think no religion should permeate into political or judicial institutions. Which Islam via sharia law, does seek to do. That's one of the problems a lot of people have with it and it's not just the extremists that want to bring sharia law into being secular, but moderates too. Look at England for example. The moderates are trying to push their laws into being secular laws and slowly trying to enforce them in the neighborhoods the muslim immigrants live in, basically replacing the secular law. And they're not really covert about it either. Ask one and they say sharia law is the better law. Not English law, but their religion's laws are what should be enforced.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #208 on: October 04, 2014, 12:51:19 PM »
If you give something lip service long enough, it can most definitely impact your beliefs.  Think of the child that is continually told 'You're fat' or 'You're stupid', or 'Dogs are scary' or 'Those [fill in descriptor here] people are bad', and tell me that child is not going to come to believe it (or on a more positive note 'You're so cute' or 'You're so smart').  It is possible to overcome something that you don't want to believe in, given enough opportunity and encouragement to do so, but if you are raised with certain beliefs - even as secular as the ones I've mentioned - they can be a difficult thing to shake.

Offline Shjade

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #209 on: October 04, 2014, 01:29:16 PM »
I apologise for the proper lack of structure. But since Islam strives to cover more than just religion, I think it is appropriate to discuss its political nature as well.

Islam may impact politics, but how does that relate to whether or not it's a peaceful religion? Would it be more peaceful if it wasn't a religion that made political strides? Is it less peaceful for wanting to spread its influence further?

To me, that line of thinking seems more like an "us vs them" mentality than actual consideration of the peaceful/violent nature of the religion.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #210 on: October 04, 2014, 02:56:53 PM »
Shjade, I am not sure which continent you are from, but your perspective seems more reflective of the American opinion on Islam - evaluating it as a religion, and being "inclusive" of Muslims as "one of us" as Americans.  In other words, despite areas of prejudice and contention by many Americans, Muslims integrate heavily into American society due to our overall culture of immigration and inclusiveness in the US (as compared to Europe).

In contrast, Europe very much possesses an "us vs them" mentality regarding Islam.  This has been well documented, and frequently cited as a precipitating factor for the far greater radicalization of Islam in Europe.  Unlike the US, entire ghettos exist of outcast Muslims - a scene which is extremely rare among Muslims in the US.  It is important to realize that for the purposes of much of Western Europe, Islam is very much a foreign entity.  Multiculturalism is still an extremely contentious topic in Europe.  While diversity/multiculturalism is still hotly debated in the US, the vast majority of us still celebrate our immigrant roots and have a degree of empathy for foreigners (despite obvious bigots and unrelated criticism of illegal immigration).  In Europe, there is very much a sense of ethno-nationalism permeating many countries.  The British want to remain British, the French want to remain French, and so forth, despite pressure from the EU to create an US-style immigration culture.

As such, even many of the "tolerant" Europeans tend to be of the "live and let live" variety, rather than the mainstream integration of cultures/religions/ethnicities we see especially among the younger demographics in the US.

The reason politics is critical in this conversation is because immigration policy (and more specifically, immigration policies that don't mirror the views of most of Europe's citizens), is a major precipitating factor for many of these ethnic clashes we are seeing in recent months in Europe.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 03:00:09 PM by Valthazar »

Offline Shjade

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #211 on: October 04, 2014, 03:42:01 PM »
Which is all fascinating, Valthazar - cultural differences and the study thereof can be great. I just don't see how it relates to the nature of Islam as a religion re: peaceful or otherwise.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #212 on: October 04, 2014, 04:02:57 PM »
I just think there is actually some consensus here in this thread.  While the idea that Islam, as a religion, is inherently violent based on its doctrine is quite inaccurate (and I hope most of us can agree on this), one can effectively make the case that the manifestation of Islam in modern day Europe - due to the factors I mentioned above - has considerably more volatile underpinnings than pure Islam, as in the Quran.

Islam (as it is found in Europe today) is arguably one of "ethnic identity" rather than religion.  Being an ostracized minority, many Muslims (and very peaceful ones at that), feel the need to cling to traditional views with great pride and passion.  Seeing their children's schools not being welcoming of their culture causes them to only develop deeper fervor and isolation - and in some cases, may motivate some of them to overthrow Western institutions (such as the Trojan Horse in Birmingham).

When this occurs, many like in this thread will interpret this to be "Islam not being a religion of peace" - when in reality, it is manifesting itself this way due to a hostile host country.  Muslims in this case are responding like many other threatened sub-cultures in other contexts.

Although very different circumstances, this is the case even in the US where Christians have been increasingly ostracized from their once "mainstream" involvement in public life.  Obama made a very accurate remark about the "hyper conservative" nature of people feeling threatened, and the growth of the Religious Right in response to threat.

Quote from: Obama
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #213 on: October 04, 2014, 05:03:03 PM »
Hmm, that sounds like a really neat quote by Obama. I'm obviously not from the US myself so I don't even know why people dislike him so much these days. Is it because he made the country go into an even bigger dept? Didn't fulfill his promises?

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #214 on: October 04, 2014, 05:16:40 PM »
In case anyone is interested, you can find the Bruce Bawer book Valthazar has referred to here.  It looks like a legitimate hosting rather than a copyright infringement to me but if anyone knows otherwise then shout and I'll remove.

I'm only on page 6 myself so I'll hold off comment.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #215 on: October 04, 2014, 05:28:30 PM »
I quickly looked through the thread for any attempt to define 'religion of peace' - and couldn't find one. If I overlooked it, feel free to direct me to it. Because having a proper definition really seems like the place to start.

I did some googling, and so far as I can tell, the description of islam as a 'religion of peace' originated after September 11, 2001. This would imply that the idea of islam as a 'religion of peace' is not something necessarily supported in islamic texts. It's true that there are many references to peace in those texts, but there are also many references to war. Islam101 argues that these instances don't negate the idea of islam as a religion of peace because "Such verses relate in a restricted sense, to those who have unilaterally attacked the Muslims . .. [and] do not convey the general command of Islam."

Well, if peace is the general command, but there are exceptions where violence is permitted, to what extent can you say it's a religion of peace? I suppose a comparison could be drawn between this idea, and pacifism and nonviolence; it's possible, for instance, to be opposed to violence in a general sense, but not be opposed to violence in emergencies and self-defense.

However, there are also religions which seem to be even more opposed to violence, in all forms. Jainism is often cited as the most extreme example of this, in that violence is forbidden not only against people, but the most minute creatures - and 'violence' is not limited to physical violence. I admit I don't know much about jainism - or related belief systems - but from what I could find, self-defense is, or can be permissible. But even in those cases, it appears to encourage limiting violence. Jainism certainly does not appear to encourage you to "Kill them wherever you find them".

Now, this doesn't really get anyone any closer to defining the term 'religion of peace' - but I'm not even sure how useful that would be. It seems like an empty concept no matter how you look at it.

Of course, in a practical sense, most religions are peaceful - including islam. Because, in the end, people tend to be equally decent or indecent regardless of what their religious affiliation is. I think you have to allow for the possibility that people are moved to violence because of religion. What we see in Iraq and Syria today, however, probably has no more and no less to do with religion, than any other example of religious violence in history. And, in the end, you'd probably understand more about the violence in that region today if you studied the effects of armed conflict on psychology and politics, than you would studying religion.

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #216 on: October 04, 2014, 05:53:52 PM »
In case anyone is interested, you can find the Bruce Bawer book Valthazar has referred to here.  It looks like a legitimate hosting rather than a copyright infringement to me but if anyone knows otherwise then shout and I'll remove.

I'm only on page 6 myself so I'll hold off comment.

It's a very good book. In fact, the title may be slightly misleading - at times Bawer actually blames the European politicians and political institutions and even its citizens more than the Muslims themselves. A very refreshing perspective that made me question what the hell is going on and how disconnected we still are from each-other as the media feeds us different information.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #217 on: October 04, 2014, 06:06:51 PM »
Right, I was mistaken, its only the first 28 pages. 

They're told in anecdotal first person style, interjected heavily with comments about his own life.  His argument is pretty incoherent but, in fairness, its only a fraction of the book; not entirely reasonable to judge.  It would be a lot of persuasive if he quoted sources, gave figures, etc. which he literally doesn't do at all - essentially its Op-Ed rather than anything with any weight.  Presumably that comes in later in the book.  He doesn't provide any link - even an explanation of what he thinks the link is, between the problems he sees and a model of multiculturalism - he just blithely asserts that the latter causes the former and moves on.  While that may come later, it made the whole thing seem a little weaselly.

From what I read, it doesn't seem great.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #218 on: October 04, 2014, 06:48:44 PM »
Hmm, that sounds like a really neat quote by Obama. I'm obviously not from the US myself so I don't even know why people dislike him so much these days. Is it because he made the country go into an even bigger dept? Didn't fulfill his promises?

Apparently many people in the more rural parts of the US ("redneck country") felt they were being disparaged and kicked at by that Obama quote, I guess both because it appeared to show their commitment to guns and their religion as fake self-protection and because it would generally cast them as a bunch of losers, people who had been left by the wayside by economic change. Some of those same people would not have hesitated to describe urban hispanics or black people as, in general, a mass of uneducated losers, criminals and tax dodgers, but getting characterized as a gang of washouts left behind by the crisis is not going to go down well with any group of voters.

As for Bawer's book, I remember hearing about it a few years back, checking it out on Amazon and talking with some people who had read it - he really seems to be overstating many of the realities on the ground in Europe. We don't have muslim vigilante guards patrolling their immigrant suburbs and beating up any woman they suspect of being unfaithful to her husband, reading the wrong kind of books at school or the like - or hanging around ordinary food stores and forcing muslim housewives not to buy any non-halal meat (a rumour that spread from an immigrant quarter near here to some American tv news feature). And muslim immigrants are not exerting a major influence on parliaments and twisting foreign policy in an anti-Israeli direction and so on. Those kinds of horror tales are misguided and as Kythia was on to, he doesn't seem to do much to provide any solid evidence for them beyond anecdotes, walking around and picking up stories or pulling conclusions from what he gets to hear locally.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 06:55:59 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #219 on: October 04, 2014, 07:00:23 PM »
Perhaps you girls are right, I'll have to re-evaluate some things.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #220 on: October 04, 2014, 07:06:40 PM »
Yeah...

I mean, he talks for a while about honour killings (without mentioning that there's no statistical difference in prevalence between the US and Europe, which feels dishonest) which, sure, bad thing.  Obvi.  But the very fact that the American model he favours so heavily leads to absolutely no reduction in this area should surely show that the model of "immigrant management" isn't a factor here.  Showing some statistics, some evidence, some indication of academic integrity, etc would make that immediately obvious and show his argument as weak.  Instead, by refusing to engage with stats it comes across like he's trying to hide the information that doesn't fit his narrative.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #221 on: October 04, 2014, 07:28:53 PM »
I suspect Bawer is also missing the simple point that once the cold war ended, the iron curtain disappeared and it became easier to travel across eastern Europe, most countries here haven't really had the option of cherry-picking their immigrants as much as the US could. It's not so much to do with "being firm" or "understanding that we are at war" with "them", it's more about being exposed to a larger flow. There is no realistic way Europe could solidly police the Mediterranean plus all the belt of eastern Europe and Russia, where many of those immigrants and asylum applicants are travelling to make their way in (yes, people were coming from Iran and central Asia through Russia already in the 1990s). By the way, countries like Turkey and Pakistan have been taking a much larger quantity of refugees from the lengthy wars in the middle east anyway.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #222 on: October 04, 2014, 07:40:10 PM »
That's very true, Bawer's book does lack empirical evidence.  I found its value more as a self-reflective piece that encourages the reader to think of these issues in new light.  I think for the most part, America has handled immigration much more effectively than Europe (which makes sense, given our country was founded on immigration). 

As an example, "According to a Pew Forum survey released earlier this month (this is a 2010 article), support for laws prohibiting face-covering veils is strong across Western Europe, with huge majorities in France (82%), Germany (71%), Britain (62%) and Spain (59%) supporting such legislation.  Not so in the USA, where only 28% approve of such a ban."

We're a much more tolerant society in many ways of foreigners than Europe, which may have a far more commitment to maintaining an ethnographic homogeneity than the US (though bigots are present in all countries).

I thought this video was pretty effective in providing a related explanation:

edit: typo
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 07:51:10 PM by Valthazar »

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #223 on: October 04, 2014, 08:12:49 PM »
Yeah...

I mean, he talks for a while about honour killings (without mentioning that there's no statistical difference in prevalence between the US and Europe, which feels dishonest) which, sure, bad thing.  Obvi.  But the very fact that the American model he favours so heavily leads to absolutely no reduction in this area should surely show that the model of "immigrant management" isn't a factor here.  Showing some statistics, some evidence, some indication of academic integrity, etc would make that immediately obvious and show his argument as weak.  Instead, by refusing to engage with stats it comes across like he's trying to hide the information that doesn't fit his narrative.

Don't quote me on this one but somewhere I read or saw that the US actually has a similar problem to Europe as Bawer describes it. Basically he says that the Us accepts immigrants and they easily become part of the society while europeans keep to themselves and always consider immigrants below them, on some subconscious level at least. But from what I've read or seen it seems like many immigrants in the US are suffering from similar problems, particularly Mexicans.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #224 on: October 04, 2014, 08:15:53 PM »
That's my impression as well, yes.  I can't speak about the US from firsthand experience, but my impression is that the differences Bawer/Valthazar speak about don't actually exist.  I'm vaguely noodling looking for stats at the moment; I'll share anything interesting I find.