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Author Topic: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?  (Read 12929 times)

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Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #350 on: November 05, 2014, 08:23:50 AM »
Staff note; Please disregard Lady Laura's posts. Staff has discovered this person is a duplicate account of a previously banned member and have acted accordingly. Thank you.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 08:35:37 AM by Dim Hon »

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #351 on: January 08, 2015, 10:54:43 AM »
I haven't been on Elliquiy for months now but to my surprise the topic is still on the first page!

In any case, I was wondering whether I should post some thoughts that occurred to me in regards to Islam her or in Formless' topic but I finally decided in favour of my own thread.


To make my point, here are the two premises that I believe all Muslims will agree on:

*Quran is the immutable word of Allah(God) delivered to Muhammed by the archangel Gabriel or Jibrael. Quran is perfect and infallible(no contradictions) in its entirety and this is said by famous Islamic scholars like Dr Zakir Naik.

*There is such a thing as a universal and immutable code of morality which comes from Allah. Without Allah humanity would delve into immorality.

If, as a Muslim, you refute any of these claims than my further criticism will fall apart of course but so far I've gathered that these are immutable truths that all Muslims(and Christians) hold true. Whenever Muslims speak about the West and why the West needs Islam they often like to refer to our pornography and the consumption of alcohol and other allegedly immoral practices that the Western people indulge in. Hey, wouldn't that mean that Elliquiy is also immoral from a Muslim's point of view?

Anyway, I'd like to refer back to the verses I plucked from the Quran in the beginning of this thread pertaining murder, rape, slavery etc. I've been told many times these verses are taken out of context. Yet whether they are taken out of context or not, it seems like under certain circumstances Allah allowed Muslims to do these things. Slavery, murder, rape. In fact he ordered them to do those things.

So this is my concern- from a Muslims' point of view, is it okay to do these things today under certain circumstances?

If the answer is no then can you point to a verse in the Quran or some passage in the Hadith that specifically states that it was only okay back then? Claiming that they're outdated or 'cherrypicking' the verses that you like either proves you don't accept the Quran in its whole entirety or that its not really perfect. A perfect holy book cannot possibly contain outdated verses. A perfect book is timeless lest you want to argue the definition of a perfect holy book. And even if you find those verses that say its not ok to do these things today wouldn't that prove moral relativism rather than moral absolutism that Muslims and Christians love to toot about? And if the answer is yes then that answer speaks for itself.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 11:17:28 AM by Sheoldred »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #352 on: January 08, 2015, 11:33:55 AM »
Yeah...you seem to have collapsed in to your own reductio ad absurdum there.  Which is, I dunno, I guess its impressive in a way.

Your premises are that all Muslims agree:

Quote
*Quran is the immutable word of Allah(God) delivered to Muhammed by the archangel Gabriel or Jibrael. Quran is perfect and infallible(no contradictions) in its entirety and this is said by famous Islamic scholars like Dr Zakir Naik.

*There is such a thing as a universal and immutable code of morality which comes from Allah. Without Allah humanity would delve into immorality.

And yet, as you point out, some Muslims believe that specific lessons from the Qur'an are time dependant.  Therefore your premises are incorrect.  QED.

Why not, instead of doing whatever it is you are doing, actually listen to what practicing Muslims like Formless are telling you they actually believe, rather than, I dunno, just taking a guess at what they believe.

Offline Beorning

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #353 on: January 08, 2015, 11:41:33 AM »
Why not, instead of doing whatever it is you are doing, actually listen to what practicing Muslims like Formless are telling you they actually believe, rather than, I dunno, just taking a guess at what they believe.

The problem is that Formless has specifically said that he's not going to participate in this thread. I'd really love to hear a real Muslims' opinions on some things that trouble me regarding Islam, as I'd like my fears to be dispelled. But I got the response that they feel offended and that they won't talk about these matters...

So, how the heck I'm supposed to learn what Muslims really think?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #354 on: January 08, 2015, 11:49:05 AM »
I've found this thread very useful for that.

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #355 on: January 08, 2015, 11:54:22 AM »
Yeah...you seem to have collapsed in to your own reductio ad absurdum there.  Which is, I dunno, I guess its impressive in a way.

Your premises are that all Muslims agree:

And yet, as you point out, some Muslims believe that specific lessons from the Qur'an are time dependant.  Therefore your premises are incorrect.  QED.

Why not, instead of doing whatever it is you are doing, actually listen to what practicing Muslims like Formless are telling you they actually believe, rather than, I dunno, just taking a guess at what they believe.

I didn't base those premises on thin air, they are based upon what I've heard Muslim scholars say. Would you rather I brought this issue up in Formless' thread?

Offline Beorning

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #356 on: January 08, 2015, 11:55:15 AM »
I've found this thread very useful for that.

So... should I ask my questions there? I don't want to make the impression that I'm stalking Formless or something like that.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #357 on: January 08, 2015, 12:03:03 PM »
I didn't base those premises on thin air, they are based upon what I've heard Muslim scholars say. Would you rather I brought this issue up in Formless' thread?

Well, its certainly not up to me, and for the avoidance of doubt I have no blackmail material on Formless that would force him to engage in a conversation he doesn't want to.

What I think my problem is is that your arguments are clearly misstated - as I point out.  And yet you went ahead with them.  Instead of thinking "Well, as I understand it 1=2, so I can't possibly be right and should look in to this further" you made a post that read - to me, at least - very much like an assertion instead of a question.  Saying, "here, I don't get this can someone explain it" is one thing, and we have a thread which Oniya has linked for that, assuming Formless (or anyone else) wishes to reply.  Making it as a statement, "Muslims believe X and Y.  They are mutually incompatible.  Ha ha, stupid Muslims, I spotted the flaw in your logic", though looks...I dunno.  Problematic.

Now, if I've misread your statement and you were asking for clarification then I apologise.  That wasn't how I read it first, and rereading its still not.  But communication is imperfect and text communication especially so, so its certainly not impossible that I missed your meaning.  Apologies where and if relevant.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #358 on: January 08, 2015, 12:05:17 PM »
I tend to be careful with the claims of people who argue roughly like this:

"I know for a fact that Muslims are violent cultural supremacists who want to rule the world.

Because I've been a Muslim myself in the past (or: I was raised a Muslim),

and when I was a Believer, I thought that way and every Muslim around me did too.

So therefore most Muslims are evil fundamentalists.

And you don't hear too many Muslims from Pakistan or Saudi Arabia openly contesting the ideas of IS, al-Qarda and others - I've never seen any number of such people distancing themselves from it in the (western) media.

Therefore they all really must be okay with what IS is doing and with people shooting journalists, bombing airplanes and breaking down ancient statues etc"

^ _ ^

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #359 on: January 08, 2015, 12:26:33 PM »
Well, its certainly not up to me, and for the avoidance of doubt I have no blackmail material on Formless that would force him to engage in a conversation he doesn't want to.

What I think my problem is is that your arguments are clearly misstated - as I point out.  And yet you went ahead with them.  Instead of thinking "Well, as I understand it 1=2, so I can't possibly be right and should look in to this further" you made a post that read - to me, at least - very much like an assertion instead of a question.  Saying, "here, I don't get this can someone explain it" is one thing, and we have a thread which Oniya has linked for that, assuming Formless (or anyone else) wishes to reply.  Making it as a statement, "Muslims believe X and Y.  They are mutually incompatible.  Ha ha, stupid Muslims, I spotted the flaw in your logic", though looks...I dunno.  Problematic.

Now, if I've misread your statement and you were asking for clarification then I apologise.  That wasn't how I read it first, and rereading its still not.  But communication is imperfect and text communication especially so, so its certainly not impossible that I missed your meaning.  Apologies where and if relevant.

I understand that the post I made might seem badly structured. If I were having a conversation with a Muslim and I wanted to bring up this issue I'd first ask them 'Do you think Quran is the immutable word of Allah?' and then based on his answer I'd either go further with the reasoning I outlined earlier or take another route depending on this answer. But the forums are slightly different and perhaps I'm just being impatient but if I limited my first post with only one question 'Is the Quran a perfect book?' it would possibly take a very long time to get anywhere so I made assumptions to build my argument upon.

As a Muslim or a non-Muslim, you are free to pick my post apart, beginning from the very same assumptions/premises If you think something's wrong with my assumptions about what Muslims believe in you're free to debate that ignoring everything else and we can go from there, I don't mind.

Let me restate some of the key points I wanted to address as questions.

If certain violent verses are only limited to their time then there's still the problem that Allah at some point allowed and/or ordered to do those things so the question is can you explain it to an outsider like myself that these verses cannot apply to today so I can feel safe?

And in case you prove to me that indeed, based on Quran Muslims should never-ever do those things again under any circumstances does that still not prove that there is no moral absolutism and that even God's morals are relative? Of course this question presumes the Muslim believes in moral absolutes... but if they don't believe in moral absolutes can they be a Muslim?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #360 on: January 08, 2015, 12:37:13 PM »
Right, you're drawing unwarranted conclusions.  Imagine I said, at one point in my life "I want a cheeseburger."  Does that mean that at every single point in my life after that I want a cheeseburger?  Of course not.  My statement was absolutely true but referred to a specific incident - I would need to have made an explicit statement that I always wanted a cheeseburger for that to have been a sensible conclusion..

What you need to show, and haven't, is that similar statements in the Qur'an are of the "I will always want a cheeseburger" variety, not the "I want a cheesburger variety".  Or, to phrase it in explicitly permissive terms, if I say to someone in a particular time and place "It is OK to touch my hair" that doesn't equal "It will always be OK for everyone for the whole of time to touch my hair"

It seems very much to me that the onus is on you to show that the verses you object to are applicable, given that the default is that they're not.  I'll be perfectly honest that I'm nowhere near a good enough Qur'anic scholar to know whether they are or not.  But you're missing a vital step in your argument.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #361 on: January 08, 2015, 12:43:39 PM »
It's my understanding that Jihad, in Muslim discussions and preaching, even in the Qu'ran, doesn't always mean waging war on the infidels, and still less killing civilians. Often "war" isn't even the main field of meaning of that word, it's used for efforts to improve things, to support a better life, progress, building education and charitable works, and so on - or so I've heard.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #362 on: January 08, 2015, 01:15:20 PM »
It's my understanding that Jihad, in Muslim discussions and preaching, even in the Qu'ran, doesn't always mean waging war on the infidels, and still less killing civilians. Often "war" isn't even the main field of meaning of that word, it's used for efforts to improve things, to support a better life, progress, building education and charitable works, and so on - or so I've heard.
I've seen articles by Muslims lamenting the erasure of the internal jihad - the struggle to be a better and more righteous person - in the current climate. So I'd say this is a pretty reasonable conclusion.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #363 on: January 10, 2015, 02:00:43 AM »

If you think of religion as an abstract object, then the use of that object depends entirely on the ones who "use" it.

The original reasons for the creation and use of that object seem to be irrelevant as what matters is what people do with it now.

I would view islam as an abstract object that has some smooth parts, and some sharp, jagged edges. It could be used as an instrument of peace or as a weapon. As can any other abstract object.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of major assholes in this world that as using it as a weapon at the moment.


Online Dashenka

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #364 on: January 10, 2015, 03:57:34 AM »
The problem is that Formless has specifically said that he's not going to participate in this thread. I'd really love to hear a real Muslims' opinions on some things that trouble me regarding Islam, as I'd like my fears to be dispelled. But I got the response that they feel offended and that they won't talk about these matters...

So, how the heck I'm supposed to learn what Muslims really think?

Quote
With about 1.8 billion followers or 23% of earth's population,[13][14] Islam is the second-largest religion and one of the fastest-growing major religions in the world.[15][16][17]

You wanna learn what 1.8 billion people think?

What bothers me is that a lot of people and the media think of muslims as all the same. Formless has already explained there are subdivisions (sorry for the strange wording) in Islam. You got Sunni and Shia (according to Wikipedia), much like the differences in Christianity, they probably have their differences too.

Just because three muslims wreack havoc in Paris doesn't mean Islam or Muslims are terrible. They are individuals. I think we (the world) should start making a difference between terrorists and muslims. Because not all muslims are terrorists and as you have seen in Boston, not all terrorists are muslims.

Then there if of course the simple fact that the largest muslim country in the world, is one you hardly ever hear of, Indonesia. So there is another reason to seperate the two words 'muslim' and 'terrorist'.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #365 on: January 10, 2015, 09:28:14 AM »
Are the vast majority of Muslims peaceful?  Yes.  Does this mean Muslim organizations as a whole are devoid of seeds of violence?  No.

Jumanah Al-Bahri is a member of the Muslim Student Association at UCSD.  She asked a question during the Q&A session of a speech by David Horowitz - asking him, "Why do you connect the Muslim Student Association to Jihadist terror networks?" - given that the MSA does their own fund-raising.

Conversation proceeds as follows:

David Horowitz : Do you condemn Hamas?"
Al-Bahri : Would I condemn Hamas?
David Horowitz : As a terrorist organization, a genocidal terrorist organization.
Al-Bahri : Are you asking me to put myself on a cross?
David Horowitz : So you won't.  (Explains the connection of the MSA to the Muslim Brotherhood Network)
Al-Bahri : I don't think you understood what I meant by that.  I'm sure that if I say something, I will be arrested, for reasons of Homeland Security, so if you could please just answer my question.
David Horowitz : If you condemn Hamas, Homeland Security will arrest you?
Al-Bahri : If I support Hamas... Your question forces me to condemn Hamas.  If I support Hamas... I look really bad.
David Horowitz : If you don't condemn Hamas, obviously you support it.  Case closed.

Horowitz then explains that he had this same experience at UC Santa Barbara, where he had 50 members of the Muslim Student Association, and throughout his talk, he kept asking whether they would condemn Hezbollah/Hamas, and none of them would.

Horowitz then recounts an experience during the Q&A session during his Santa Barbara speech where he asks the president of their MSA the following:

"I'm a Jew.  The head of Hezbollah has said that he hopes we will gather in Israel so that he doesn't have to hunt us down individually.  Hezbollah - are you for it or against it?"

Al-Bahri responds that she is "for it."

Here's the 3 minute video of the interaction.  Based on this, can we safety conclude that the MSA in the UCs is struggling with an unhealthy ideological slant?


Offline Life in Color

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #366 on: January 10, 2015, 10:17:44 AM »
I just wandered by this thread and my phone is sometimes stubborn.

Salaam alaikum.

As a participating member, and this year, President of my university's MSA, I can anecdotally say that support for organizations like Hamas is definitely an identity struggle point. We have members who support organizations like those that have been mentioned and we have those who do not - and the support is not something that is necessarily geograpically tied.

My particular MSA chapter also struggles with an acceptance of our Shi'a community on campus. Something that makes me very sad, but we've made headway on that topic, so yay us.

One thing that deeply bothers me, however, is that regardless of whatever terrible thing is going on we're the only religious club on campus that has to react to things. For example, this past semester IS was the huge buzzword for people and so to combat any atom of a thought that our MSA may have anything remotely to do with that we hosted a panel on messages of peace and how faith handles war as our Three Faiths Panel topic. No other religious club has to react like this.

In fact, our Protestant club on campus actively advertises Muslim converts whow will reveal the horrors of Islam as part of their semesterly events. Why is this allowed to happen without anyone blinking an eye? Because so many really do believe that all Muslims are terrorists engaged in the hijacked ideal of jihad, a word that means simply to struggle.

That, at one point, was commonly associated with the struggle do right and goodness, not this gross idea of war. Which Louise pointed out.

Distancing from the religion, terrorists are non-state actors - there are no conduct rules that guide their behavior. Whether they're Muslim or Protestant or Catholic, French or American or Australian. So, we cannot expect them to adhere to any kind of rule - even if it is the rules of the religion they're rallying behind.

By embracing the idea that all Muslims are terrorists, we are doing exactly what they want us to do - breed fear and distrust and violence.

End unrelated points, haha.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #367 on: January 10, 2015, 11:47:30 AM »
Hey Alixandre, Wa 'alaykum al-salaam

Out of curiosity, those members you have who do support Hamas etc. - do they tend to support what we might call radical groups in totality?  Or do they pick and choose?  So, for example, do they all support both Hamas and IS, or do some support only Hamas and not IS, and vice versa.  Obviously there are doctirinal differences between a lot of those groups and I'm just wondering if what they support can be boiled down to some sort of "pro-Muslim" argument or if they are actually idealogical converts to that specific brand of Islam.

As to the other point you raised...I dunno.  I get that its unfair, I get that its annoying.  But...well, most of my family are either Pakistani or of Pakistani origin, so I get asked a load of these questions at work (despite not being a Muslim).  And sure, its annoying that Islam is focused on in that way, but the alternative is noone putting forwards the Muslim arguments against various things that are happening, and so the answer from within the community being a wave of silence.  So while I can sympathise - and I'm sure you have it much worse than I do - I think its something that just has to be sucked up unfortunately.

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #368 on: January 10, 2015, 11:57:11 AM »
Hey Alixandre, Wa 'alaykum al-salaam

Out of curiosity, those members you have who do support Hamas etc. - do they tend to support what we might call radical groups in totality?  Or do they pick and choose?  So, for example, do they all support both Hamas and IS, or do some support only Hamas and not IS, and vice versa.  Obviously there are doctirinal differences between a lot of those groups and I'm just wondering if what they support can be boiled down to some sort of "pro-Muslim" argument or if they are actually idealogical converts to that specific brand of Islam.

They're selective. While they support Hamas and Hezbollah, they definitely are opposed to IS. Academically, it's fascinating - as someone trying to run the organization, it's headache inducing.

>.>

As to the other point you raised...I dunno.  I get that its unfair, I get that its annoying.  But...well, most of my family are either Pakistani or of Pakistani origin, so I get asked a load of these questions at work (despite not being a Muslim).  And sure, its annoying that Islam is focused on in that way, but the alternative is noone putting forwards the Muslim arguments against various things that are happening, and so the answer from within the community being a wave of silence.  So while I can sympathise - and I'm sure you have it much worse than I do - I think its something that just has to be sucked up unfortunately.

Oh, yeah. For sure.

I just wanted to whine for a little bit.

On my campus the ... I know the word, but it's not coming to me. The hate is very systemic, unfortunately, so it's not just organizational event spats.

Our petition to get Arabic added to our campus so that we could start building an Arab Studies program got shot down because our Provost didn't think it was "relevant", so the frustration was real this year - but next Fall is another year!

And, I definitely agree that the silent majority works against us. But, that's why I have our MSA out working with local volunteer organizations and doing community outreach because the dialogue has to happen, or nothing will change.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #369 on: January 10, 2015, 12:09:25 PM »
Yeah, claiming Arabic isn't "relevant" is a pretty impressive misstatement.  We don't have the staff, we don't have the budget, we don't have the space, whatever - all valid.  Relevancy is a struggle to argue from.

Anyhoo. 

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Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #370 on: January 10, 2015, 12:31:26 PM »
One could easily counter them that with all the conflict in the Middle East, knowing Arabic is even more relevant.  News correspondents, government translators, heck - even someone going into the military could benefit from being able to correctly interpret both the literal and the cultural aspects of a situation.

Offline Skynet

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #371 on: January 10, 2015, 01:49:08 PM »
Christianity isn't a religion of peace either. But Christianity isn't dictating the laws of countries at the moment like Islam is in some of the Arabic countries.

Actually, in Greek law it's illegal to criticize the Orthodox Church.  And evangelicals in the United States were instrumental in the formation of violent anti-LGBT laws in Uganda.  Also, anti-gay laws in Russia are heavily influenced by the Orthodox Church officials currying favors with Putin.

The problem isn't religion itself, so much as religious fundamentalists and theocrats with government power.  In places where church and state are separate or regulated, these people have less power; at the moment there are more such countries like this in the West than the Middle East, and thus we get groups like ISIS and Wahhabists dictating national laws in the region.  But that doesn't mean that the US and Europe are secular paradises, either.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2015, 01:52:46 PM by Skynet »

Offline SheoldredTopic starter

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #372 on: January 10, 2015, 06:48:08 PM »
Quote
The problem isn't religion itself, so much as religious fundamentalists and theocrats with government power.

But their stance is supported by their interpretation of their holy scripture. If they had nothing to lean on it would have been easier to find compromise with them.

“Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance.” - Sam Harris.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #373 on: January 10, 2015, 08:58:56 PM »
Actually, in Greek law it's illegal to criticize the Orthodox Church.  And evangelicals in the United States were instrumental in the formation of violent anti-LGBT laws in Uganda.  Also, anti-gay laws in Russia are heavily influenced by the Orthodox Church officials currying favors with Putin.

The problem isn't religion itself, so much as religious fundamentalists and theocrats with government power.  In places where church and state are separate or regulated, these people have less power; at the moment there are more such countries like this in the West than the Middle East, and thus we get groups like ISIS and Wahhabists dictating national laws in the region.  But that doesn't mean that the US and Europe are secular paradises, either.

Heck...all you have to do is look at the fight for gay rights and gay marriage in the US. If the conservative Christian religious right didn't have so much influence in our politics - 'soft' influence, admittedly, what with the 1st Amendment - the issue would have progressed much further and faster by now.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?
« Reply #374 on: January 10, 2015, 11:11:55 PM »
But their stance is supported by their interpretation of their holy scripture. If they had nothing to lean on it would have been easier to find compromise with them.

“Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance.” - Sam Harris.

Ideologies develop in the absence of religion, also. When you hold an opinion that cannot be swayed by new knowledge. This is a very difficult position to drag yourself out of if you're in one, and it comes in all forms. In the US, we have left-wing and right-wing ideologues whose positions do not involve religion in any fashion, and yet, people will die because powerful people buy into their bullshit. Mao's China, the British and Mongol empires, and the Soviet Union are all particularly egregious examples.

You might try to excuse the Mongols and British from this as their slaughter and starvation of millions was more pragmatic, but I don't think that helps.

Some religions produce ideologies that are explicitly peaceful (peace as in peace by our contemporary English understanding of the word, not as in 'salaam') - Jainism in particular holds it as a core tenet (Ahimsa).