From Islam Watch, Sujit Das posts:
Today who can deny the fact that Islam is different from all other religions, because of the threat of violence to its critics? All other religions can be criticized and even ridiculed without fear of violence. Only with Islam is there a credible threat of violence to its critics. Muslims can criticize Christianity and Hinduism without any fear of violence, but Christians and Hindus cannot criticize Islam without an ever-present fear of Islamic violence. It needs far more bravery to be on that side. A simple, calm, rational debate between all religions is not possible, because the fear of Islamic violence is always in the background. If Islam is, as Muslims claim, a mature, modern, tolerant religion, then why there is a need to the threat of violence? Muslims don’t understand the self-contradiction.
The Quran is filled with commands to murder non-Muslims:
A large portion of the Qur’an is full of Jihadi verses and hate speeches against the infidels. As example, here I quote the most “beautiful and peaceful” verse of the Qur’an, known as the verse of sword.
“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Q: 9.5)
Here’s more about the Quran — a debunking of the notion that the violent passages, demanding that Muslims convert or kill the infidel, are taken “out of context” (as if they can be read in a historical context, like passages in The Bible):
When Jihadi verses are pointed out, Muslims say, “You have quoted out of context”. This “out of context” argument, to borrow words from Warraq, is the “old standby of crooked, lying politicians” (Warraq, 2003, p. 400). This could mean two things: (a) the historical context to which the various verses refer; and (b) the textual context, the actual place in a particular chapter that the verse quoted comes from.
The Historical Context is out of question. Qur’an is supposed to be the eternal word of God, true and valid for all places and time. If Allah is eternal, then Allah can neither have a past nor a history. Therefore, Muslims actually blaspheme against their God, when they talk about historical context. Secondly, as Spencer observed (2003, p. 127), reading the Qur’an is often like walking in on a conversation between two people with whom one is only slightly acquainted. Frequently, they make reference to people and events without bothering to explain what is going on. Even the famous Muslim scholar and one of the most influential thinkers, Sayyid Qutb, admits that most of the Surahs were not revealed as wholes, but rather bit by bit at diverse occasions, of which there is no historical record agreed upon by scholars. Hence, the only option available to us is that of assumption and preponderaton in this matter (cited Boullata, 2002, p. 363). In other words, the context is often not supplied. Therefore, if the context is not given in the Qur’an, how a verse can be quoted out of context?
The remaining is the textual context. No doubt, there are some peaceful verses in the Qur’an, which were revealed early in Muhammad Prophetic mission in Mecca. Muslims want to prove that Islam is a peaceful religion by quoting those verses. But all the peaceful verses were abrogated by the violent verses of the ninth Surah, because the ninth Surah was revealed toward the end of Muhammad’s life. In fact, most Muslim authorities agree that the ninth Surah was the very last section of the Qur’an revealed to him. Many Muslim theologians assert that the verse of sword (Q: 9.5) abrogates as many as 124 more peaceful and tolerant verses of the Qur’an (Spencer, 2007, p. 78; McAuliffe, 2006, p. 218).
As Raymond Ibrahim puts it briefly, when violence in The Bible and the Quran are compared:
The fundamental error is that Judeo-Christian history–which is violent–is being conflated with Islamic theology–which commands violence. Of course, the three major monotheistic religions have all had their share of violence and intolerance towards the “other.” Whether this violence is ordained by God or whether warlike men merely wished it thus is the key question.
Old Testament violence is an interesting case in point. God clearly ordered the Hebrews to annihilate the Canaanites and surrounding peoples. Such violence is therefore an expression of God’s will, for good or ill. Regardless, all the historic violence committed by the Hebrews and recorded in the Old Testament is just that–history. It happened; God commanded it. But it revolved around a specific time and place and was directed against a specific people. At no time did such violence go on to become standardized or codified into Jewish law. In short, biblical accounts of violence are descriptive, not prescriptive.
This is where Islamic violence is unique.
…In fact, based on the sword-verses as well as countless other Qur’anic verses and oral traditions attributed to Muhammad, Islam’s learned officials, sheikhs, muftis, and imams throughout the ages have all reached consensus–binding on the entire Muslim community–that Islam is to be at perpetual war with the non-Muslim world until the former subsumes the latter. Indeed, it is widely held by Muslim scholars that since the sword-verses are among the final revelations on the topic of Islam’s relationship to non-Muslims, that they alone have abrogated some 200 of the Qur’an’s earlier and more tolerant verses, such as “no compulsion is there in religion.”
…When the Qur’an’s violent verses are juxtaposed with their Old Testament counterparts, they are especially distinct for using language that transcends time and space, inciting believers to attack and slay nonbelievers today no less than yesterday. God commanded the Hebrews to kill Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites–all specific peoples rooted to a specific time and place. At no time did God give an open-ended command for the Hebrews, and by extension their Jewish descendants, to fight and kill gentiles. On the other hand, though Islam’s original enemies were, like Judaism’s, historical (e.g., Christian Byzantines and Zoroastrian Persians), the Qur’an rarely singles them out by their proper names. Instead, Muslims were (and are) commanded to fight the people of the book–”until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled” and to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them.”
The two Arabic conjunctions “until” (hata) and “wherever” (haythu) demonstrate the perpetual and ubiquitous nature of these commandments: There are still “people of the book” who have yet to be “utterly humbled” (especially in the Americas, Europe, and Israel) and “idolaters” to be slain “wherever” one looks (especially Asia and sub-Saharan Africa). In fact, the salient feature of almost all of the violent commandments in Islamic scriptures is their open-ended and generic nature: “Fight them [non-Muslims] until there is no persecution and the religion is God’s entirely.