Contrast this bloody march of conquest with Christianity's history- a religion that spread from the slaves through the middle and upper classes and finally came to be the faith of kings. At very few times in Christianity's history can one find examples of conversion by force, and nowhere can Christianity match Islam's bloody record of destroying civilizations and converting entire populations by the sword. Although Christian kings fought viciously against each other, there was never any concerted attempt by the Christian powers to destroy of even invade Islamic heartlands, despite the great provocation given by the repeated Muslim attemtps to conquer Europe. While this was probably due more to the nature of political infighting amongst the Western leaders than anything else, it is significant that no Pope or Emperor ever tried, aside from the Crusades, which wree primarily to aid Byzantium and recapture the holy city of Jerusalem.
With this history, does it not seem strange that 138 leading Islamic scholars have sent a letter pleading for Christians and Muslims to make peace to many leading Christian leaders? According to the United Kingdom's Evening Standard,
Prominent Muslim scholars are warning that the "survival of the world" is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other.
In an unprecedented open letter signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars from every sect of Islam, the Muslims plead with Christian leaders "to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions."
The Muslim scholars state: "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes."
The phrasing has similarities to the New Testament passage: "He that is not with me is against me" - a passage used by President George Bush when addressing a joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11.
The hypocrisy in this letter is towering. Firstly, the Muslim scholars claim if Islam and Christianity do not make peace the "survival of the world is at stake". This sounds suspiciously like a threat to me. Secondly, they claim that Islam is not against Christians. Really? Then why are all the atttacks against Christians, Americans and other non-Islamic peoples always clothed in religious motives. bin Laden and the zealots of al-Quaeda and Hezbollah have never been shy at proclaiming their religious motivation. However, the Muslim scholars pass this point with no comment and proceed to say that "as long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion..." Did the Muslim scholars somehow miss the fact that the current war, at least according to American leadership, has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam as a whole? American leaders have been careful to state that they are waging war against the miscreants who bombed the World Trade Center and the states who have aided them. This includes Saddam Hussein's Iraq. At no point has any American leader called this war a fight against Islam. It has been called a war on terror and various other names, but never has it been cast as a war against Islam. Only the Islamics we are fighting have cast it in religious terms.
And that brings up a second point. Certain elements of Islam started this war, not the West. The West, in particular the United States, has actually fought for Muslims, both in Bosnia and in the Middle East. US soldiers were stationed in Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi leadership to protect them against fellow Muslim Saddam Hussein. US soldiers also liberated Kuwait (a Muslim country) from Iraq (another Muslim country) in the First Gulf War. And the United States supported the (Muslim) mujahadeen who helped drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan.
To me this smacks of the classic Islamic idea that when one is being defeated, it is acceptable to call for a truce, which should be used to rearm and refresh oneself before continuing the battle. And this seems more evidence that the United States is currently winning the war against Islamic fundamentalism, if leading Islamic scholars are calling for a truce. I hope and trust that the Christian leaders to whom this letter is addressed treat it with the appropriate solemnity- they drop it in the nearest wastebin. I believe that there are essentially only two kinds of peace- the kind of a resounding victory and the kind of defeat and submission. Detente falls into the 'peace through strength' category, as it is enforced by a willingness to fight for one's beliefs. Which kind do we want?
If Islam truly wants peace with Christians, perhaps they could abandon the anti-Christian rhetoric issuing from so many mosques around the world. Perhaps Saudi Arabia could discontinue its sponsorship of the radical, anti-American Wahhabi sect, which preaches violence against America. Perhaps Muslim nations could eliminate their anti-Bible laws, and no longer execute Muslims who wish to convert from their barbarous religion to one that is kinder and gentler. Perhaps Islam could begin an honest debate about how seriously the Koran should be taken. Perhaps Muslim nations should do a better job preventing Muslim fanatics from executing people memerly for the crime of being non-Muslim. Perhaps Islamic nations should actually offer protection to the non-Muslims who live in their midst, instead of encouraging the medievalist who want them dead. And most of all, perhaps Muslim nations can cease their autocratic leadership practices and give their people some real rights, along with disposing of the medieval notion that women are merely baby factories. if the people were to be granted some enlightened leadership, then perhaps the fundamentalists would be less successful in their proselytizing.
Christian nations are perfectly ready to live in peace with Islam. But we are not willing to live in the kind of peace that Islam too often brings- the peace of submission and dhimmitude. If Islam is willing to renounce its violent and imperialist tendencies towards us, we are perfectly happy to live side-by-side. But we will not tolerate any further attempts to conquer us, and Islam has made too many of these attempts for this poor writer to trust them any further than needs be. I can only hope our leaders are similarly wary, for I do not wish to live under sharia. Not now, and not ever.