Religion of Peace and Violence

One of the (many) things that enrage me about the portrayal of Islam in the mainstream media is that it’s treated either as a revolting pathology that needs to be eradicated, or as a retrograde faith that is completely different from other religions. Right-wing pundits bleat about “Islamo-fascism” while some conservatives and quite a few liberals stress that Islam is a religion of peace. Both of these observations are one-sided. Islam, like Christianity before it, has been used both for peace and for war. It’s been used to justify utter good as well as pure evil.

So it was refreshing to see this point picked up by Jason Burke in a weekend Op-Ed in the Observer. “We need to be clear,” he says “that, like any faith, Islam is a religion of peace – and sometimes of violence.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t put the fundamentalists currently running the White House to the same thorough examination.


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