Islam and Violence
This page provides brief summaries of a few select articles concerning Islam and its relationship with various forms of violence. More relevant articles can be found via the Hub and Category pages (see the Site Map).
- 1 Muhammad
- 2 Women
- 3 Terrorism
- 4 Persecution
- 5 Punishments
- 6 Miscellaneous
- 7 See Also
- 8 References
Facts and Figures
This page consists of various statistics concerning Islam and its scriptures. A small sample include:
- There are 164 Jihad verses in the Qur'an and nearly 500 verses (roughly 1 out of every 12) that speak of Hell.
- Practicing Muslims recite anti-Semitic and anti-Christian rhetoric at least 17 times a day, and over 5,000 times a year.
- Compared to Mein Kampf, the non-abrogated Medinan verses of the Qur'an contain more than 2x the amount of anti-Jewish text.
- 122 peaceful Qur'anic verses have been abrogated by the Sword verse (9:5) and Fighting verse (9:29).
Invitations to Islam Prior to Violence
The practice of inviting non-Muslim nations to join Islam or pay the Jizyah prior to engaging in offensive Jihad was first initiated by the Prophet Muhammad. For example, he sent a letter to Heraclius, the Eastern Roman emperor in Constantinople, stating "I invite you to Islam, embrace Islam and you will be safe; ...But if you reject this invitation of Islam, you shall be responsible for misguiding the peasants (i.e. your nation)." Another letter was sent to Negus, the king of Abyssinia, stating "I call you unto the fold of Islam; if you embrace Islam, you will find safety,... Should you reject this invitation, then you will be held responsible for all the evils of the Christians of your people." Similarly, another letter was sent to Muqawqas, the vicegerent of Egypt, stating "I invite you to accept Islam. Therefore, if you want security, accept Islam... But if you refuse to do so, you will bear the burden of the transgression of all the Copts." Muhammad's lead was then followed by the Rightly-Guided Caliphs Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and Umar Ibn al-Khatab. The leaders of later Islamic empires such as the sultan of the Ottoman Empire also followed suit, and it has even been codified within the Islamic Shari'ah (see sections o9.0 to o9.8 in 'Umdat as-Salik wa 'Uddat an-Nasik). This practice is continued today by Islamic leaders such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.
Killings Ordered or Supported by Him
Violence under Prophet Muhammad was a frequent occurrence. This is of little surprise. The use of assassination to achieve political/religious goals has been important throughout the history of Arabia and Islamic expansion, and the very word "assassin" has Arabic roots. The list of known killings ordered or supported by him number at least forty-three. He and his men murdered (and even tortured) hundreds of people, mostly Jews. His targets included men, women and children, both young and old. The reasons behind their executions varied from "causing offence" and writing or reciting poetry, to purely monetary gains for Muhammad, his men and the wider Muslim community. This page lists some of the results and reasons for the targeted killings and assassinations ordered or supported by Muhammad, as well as the primary Islamic sources which mention these incidents.
Genocide of the Jewish Banu Qurayza
Hijra year 5 (627 AD), on the orders of Prophet Muhammad, almost nine hundred Jews of a Medinan tribe named Banu Qurayza were massacred by Muslims. The killing began early in the day, ending in torchlight. Those who escaped death (women and children, excluding boys who had begun to grow pubic hair) were taken captive by Muslims to be sold in slave markets and exchanged for horses and armour. Muslims propose many apologetic arguments to excuse this crime. The most favored argument they use is the alleged treachery of Banu Quraiza. Its flaws are evident when considering any act of treachery from this tribe would have put an end to Islam at Khandaq, and as a result, Islam would never have existed outside of Arabia.
Facts and Figures
These pages consists of various statistics concerning Islam and women. A small sample include:
- In terms of cultural/tribal/religious danger to women, 4 of the 5 most dangerous countries are Muslim majorities.
- Egyptian women are sexually harassed 7 times every 200 meters and well over two-thirds are harassed on a daily basis.
- 91 percent of all honor-related killings around the world are carried out by Muslims (84% in US, 96% in Europe).
- The number of honor killings in Pakistan are estimated to be around 2,500 to 3,000 cases every year.
Wife-beating is supported by the teachings of Islamic religious texts such as the Qur'an and the Hadiths, and has been an accepted part of Islam since its inception. Surah 4:34 states that men are in charge of women and that husbands may beat their wives if they simply fear disobedience. Prophet Muhammad provided tacit approval of wife beating by not scolding Muslims for beating their wives, referred to women who spoke-out against abuse as "not the best among you", forbid Muslims from questioning men who beat their wives, allowed others to hit his wives (the very women whom all Muslims adore and refer to as "the Mother of believers"), reaffirms the command of wife-beating in his parting sermon, and himself struck one of his wives in the chest. In addition to Muhammad's actions, three of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs also beat women. Because of its many endorsements within Islamic scripture, wife-beating is permitted by the majority of Muslim scholars and leaders. This has led to domestic violence being permitted under law in several Islamic states or being largely ignored by the authorities.
Honor related violence is physical violence that is inflicted on an individual by perpetrators who believe the victim has brought dishonor upon the family, clan, or community by engaging in any conduct that is perceived as immoral or unacceptable by religious or social/cultural standards. This violence almost always happens in Muslim families, where women are killed for many "honor" related reasons, including being raped or associating with non-related males (both crimes under Islamic law).
In practice, honor related violence is not limited to humans, but can also apply to animals. For example, in July 2011, a male who was caught in Pakistan having sex with another man's donkey was fined 110,000 rupees. This fine was not imposed for having sex with an animal, but for committing adultery. The raped donkey was labelled a 'kari' (an adulteress) and eventually honor killed by its owner.
There is no equivalent term for ‘rape’ in the Qur'an. Likewise, there is not a single verse in the Qur'an which even remotely discourages forced sex. In contrast, there are several verses that permit rape and other sexual crimes against women. Qur'an chapter 4 verse 24 discusses lawful and forbidden women for Muslims, stating that, "(forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess." What we see in the beginning of this verse as “forbidden” refers to sexual intercourse. The Qur'an dictates, women already married are forbidden for Muslims except those whom their right hands possess (sex slaves). It is obvious from this verse, a Muslim can have sexual relations with his slave-woman. This is supported by a copious amount of hadith and tafsir.
The belief in possession by jinn, witchcraft, and the effects of the "evil eye" are mainstream Islamic beliefs, supported by sahih (authentic) hadith. The evil eye is considered a fact that is responsible for the deaths of many Muslims (second only to the will of Allah). Muhammad believed himself to have been affected by the evil eye and the witchcraft of a Jew. Today, the motif of the Hand of Fatima (daughter of Muhammad) is used everywhere in North Africa, especially in jewelry and in door knockers, because it "keeps away the Evil Eye," and according to Islamic scholars, witches must be executed without hesitation. Consequently, witch-hunts are not a distant memory from the Middle Ages, but are a very real part of everyday life in the Muslim world, where women are often accused of this crime and are hunted down, persecuted, jailed or executed for it.
Facts and Figures
This page consists of various statistics concerning Islam and terrorism. A small sample include:
- 2012 report finds the majority of world's terrorism committed by Muslims. Almost 9000 deaths caused by Sunni terrorists in 2011.
- Esposito/Mogahed find almost 4 out of 10 Muslims worldwide are extremists who think 9/11 was totally/partially/somewhat justified.
- More than 95% of all suicide bombing attacks conducted worldwide are carried out by Muslims.
- 2011 Study finds no link between poverty and support for militant Islamic groups.
Lesser vs Greater Jihad
During Prophet Muhammad's lifetime, and onwards to the present, the word 'Jihad' was, and is, almost always used in a military sense. This idea of a greater and lesser jihad was a later development which originated from the 11th century book, The History of Baghdad, by the Islamic scholar al-Khatib al-Baghdadiis, by way of Yahya ibn al 'Ala'. The "lesser versus greater jihad" hadith's isnad has been categorized by scholars as "weak" (da`if), and generally in Islamic law, only the authentic (sahih) and good (hasan) hadiths are used in deriving the rules. The weak hadiths have no value for the purpose of Shari'ah. Contemporary Islamic scholars have even classed it as "maudu" (fabricated), meaning this narration, by some, is not even considered to be a hadith at all. This fabricated hadith does not appear in any of the famous hadith collections, and in fact goes against the teachings found in corroborated (Mutawatir) sahih hadith. Furthermore, all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence (Fiqh) as well as the Shi'ite tradition make no reference at all to the "greater" jihad, only the lesser. So even if we discount the evidence against the validity of this hadith, we know that the concept of the greater jihad is unorthodox and heretical to the majority of the world's Muslims.
Suicide is clearly forbidden in Islam, but what apologists often fail to mention is that the permissibility of martyrdom operations (Istishhad) is an altogether different topic, with scholars being split on the issue. Notable scholars and apologists such as Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the world's most quoted independent Islamic jurist, Dr. Zakir Naik, known for his advocacy of "Qur'anic science", and Tahir Ashrafi, the Chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, have justified the use of suicide bombing in Islam. Opinion polls have further shown that an extremely large number of Muslims from around the world support the practice.
From the synopsis of an in-depth fatwa on the subject: "We have arrived at the conclusion that martyrdom operations are permissible, and in fact the Mujahid who is killed in them is better than one who is killed fighting in the ranks, for there are gradations even among martyrs, corresponding to their role, action effort and risk undertaken. Then, we explained how martyrdom operations are the least costly to the Mujahideen and most detrimental to the enemy. We have heard, as you must have, that most scholars today permit such operations; at least 30 Fatawa have been issued to this effect. We explained how this issue is derived from the issue of plunging single-handedly into the enemy ranks; something which is praiseworthy by the agreement of jurists. We then further stated that we preferred the view that such an action is permissible even if martyrdom is the only goal, although it is certainly not the optimal practice."
Converts to Islam
Although terrorism is not exclusive to the Islamic ideology, it should be noted that a disproportionate number of terrorists are Muslims who are motivated by the teachings of Islam. Peter Neumann, a Professor of Security Studies at King’s College in London, has noted that Western converts were "overrepresented among jihadists", and a 2011 study found that 55% of US born Muslims arrested for Islamic terrorist activities were converts to Islam. In the Philippines there is even an entire terrorist organization comprised solely of converts to Islam.
Those who were born into Islam may be ignorant of their religion and its actual teachings, therefore they are Muslims who are most likely to interpret Islam in a peaceful way. However, many converts to Islam are more zealous; learning as much about their new found faith as they can. When they do that, the only conclusion that they can draw is that Islam's deity endorses terrorism and rewards terrorists. If someone is involved in crime and terrorism and they had converted to a certain faith system, it is almost always Islam that the person converted to. The hate for non-Muslims found in Islam is quickly picked up by them. As a result, these converts often turn to the practice or support of terrorism and violence; often showing hatred for their own family, country, and former way of life.
There was once a time when the media and apologists would defiantly proclaim, "Muslim extremists are only a tiny minority!!!", and Muslims and non-Muslims alike would make nonsensical statements such as "only 0.01 % of Muslims are extremists", etc. Today, due to many in-depth polls and studies on the subject, this claim has been proven false and Islam's apologists have been forced to adapt their rhetoric. Now they tend to claim "the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peace loving moderates". So, are the "overwhelming majority" of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims peace loving moderates? This is an important question. We are now constantly force-fed this claim that they are. But does reality agree with the propaganda?
Even though Dalia Mogahed and John Esposito have tried their best to obfuscate the results, a massive worldwide survey of Muslims conducted by the Gallup polling agency revealed that 36.6 percent of Muslims think the mass-slaughter of innocent non-Muslim (and some Muslim) civilians on 9/11 was either completely, partially or some way justified. This does not support the claim that the "overwhelming majority" of Muslims are peace loving moderates. Yes, "peace loving" Muslims, according to this particular survey, are a majority. But when almost 4 out of every 10 Muslim is a terrorist-supporting "radical", they are hardly "overwhelming".
Facts and Figures
These pages consists of various statistics concerning Islam and persecution/prejudice. A small sample include:
- 2011 Pew study finds Muslims are more "phobic" of non-Muslims than the non-Muslims are "Islamophobic" of Muslims.
- There are 7 countries in the world where the state can execute you for being atheist. Every single one is officially Islamic.
- 9 of the top 10 persecutors of Christians are Islamic countries. Of the top 50 countries, only 12 have a source other than Islam.
- Turkey tops list of countries violating the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for 3 consecutive years.
Persecution of Ex-Muslims
Islam is the only major world religion that does not allow its followers the freedom to change faith. According to Shari'ah laws (extracted from the Qur'an and Sunnah), apostates of Islam must be sentenced to death. This has led to ex-Muslims often being persecuted, abused and killed. This treatment of apostates is not simply down to the issue of state-enforced religion as some may suggest. As you will find out on this page, the violence or threats of violence against apostates in the Muslim world usually derives not from government authorities but from family members and individuals from the Islamic communities themselves, who operate very often with impunity from the government. This point is further emphasised by the persecution and murder of ex-Muslims which has now become evident in many non-Muslim societies across the globe.
Persecution of Non-Muslims
According to Islamic laws, non-Muslims in Islamic lands should be subdued and be treated as dhimmis (second class citizens). They should be coerced and intimidated to convert to Islam, through special humiliating taxes like Jizyah imposed on them. Following Prophet Muhammad's example, this has been taking place throughout Islam's history. While Muslims demand for concessions in non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims are systematically persecuted, terrorized and ethnically cleansed from Islamic lands. In 2008 alone, there were 2,204 separate documented incidents of Islamically motivated violence which led to death. In total there were 10,779 deaths and another 18,213 critically injured. That is more people killed each and every year in the name of Islam, than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition combined. More than 29 people are killed in religiously motivated attacks every single day at the hands of Muslims. If you spend just one short hour reading through some of the news articles compiled on this page, there would have been another one to two deaths attributed to Islam and countless other incidents involving beatings, rapes, abductions, forced conversions, desecration of non-Muslim buildings, etc.
Persecution of Homosexuals
Homosexuality is considered to be one of the worst sins in Islam and one of the greatest crimes punishable under Islamic law. The Prophet Muhammad not only condemned homosexuality but even the "appearance" of homosexuality (effeminate men and masculine women). With the rise of the Islamic population amongst historically non-Muslim societies, also comes the rise in persecution. For example, while Muslims comprise just 2% of the total British population, they commit 25% of all anti-Homosexual crimes. However, this ongoing and increasing persecution of homosexuals by Muslims around the world, rarely makes the mainstream news. The fear of offending Islamic sensibilities and enraging the Muslim populous has effectively silenced the free world in many areas. Thanks to the Internet, those of us who search can find many news items that would otherwise be lost.
Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes
In attempting to deceive people into believing that they are being persecuted around the world for their faith, many Muslims have been caught fabricating anti-Muslim hate crimes. This is particularly important to some of them, hoping to paint the persecutor as the persecuted and shifting focus away from the millions who face real persecution at the hands of Islam. Fabricated hate crimes are also useful in creating an atmosphere of fear among the general Muslim population, gaining the sympathy and political support of non-Muslims, and shaming vocal critics of Islam into silence.
According to FBI hate-crime statistics, hate crimes directed against Muslims "remain relatively rare" in the United states, with gays, lesbians and caucasians more frequently a target than the followers of Islam. Jewish victims of hate crimes also outnumber Muslim victims by a ratio of almost 9 to 1, and anti-Muslim incidents only account for a tiny 1.3% of all hate crimes. Even anti-Christian (Catholic/Protestant) incidents outnumber those perpetrated against Muslims in America. Some of the cases listed in this article also put into doubt the truth behind all 105 reported incidents.
Facts and Figures
This pages consists of various statistics concerning Islam and the practice of Shari'ah law. A small sample include:
- 1 out of 3 British Muslims aged 16 to 24 believe that Muslim apostates should be executed.
- Majority of worlds Muslims favor changing laws in their countries to allow stoning/amputation for "crimes", and death for apostasy.
- Only 26% of Muslims in Turkey say they would adhere to laws passed by Parliament if it contradicted religious laws.
- Poll finds neither education nor age explains attitudes toward the role of Shari’ah in legislation.
Amputation is the removal of part or all of a body part enclosed by skin. It is a prescribed punishment in the Qur'an, and within the context of Islamic law, it refers to the removal of the hands or feet. Today, amputation is used as a punishment for theft in Saudi Arabia and Northern Nigeria, which reintroduced Shari'ah law in 1999. In Somalia, a court run by an extremist Islamic group sentenced four Somali men in June of 2009 to each have a hand and a leg cut off for allegedly stealing mobile phones and guns. In 2008, the Islamic Republic of Iran saw five double amputations in a single week--five convicted robbers were each sentenced to have their right hands and left feet amputated. When the Taliban, an Islamic militant group, took over Afghanistan in 1996, within a year, public executions, amputations and stonings were a regular Friday event in Kabul.
Stoning to death, according to traditional interpretations is primarily a punishment for persons who engage in unlawful sexual relations (which include homosexual relationships). The criminals "hands are tied behind their backs and their bodies are put in a cloth sack." They are then "buried in a hole, with only the victims heads showing above the ground. If its a woman, she is buried upto her shoulders." The stones which are to be thrown at the criminal "should not be so large that the offender dies after a few strikes, nor so small as to fail to cause serious injury." Due to the Islamic laws on rape requiring four male eye witnesses before guilt can be ascertained, many rape victims end up being charged with 'adultery.' As was the case for a 13-year-old girl in Somalia who in October of 2008 was buried up to her neck and stoned to death in front of more than 1,000 people in a football stadium. She was the victim of gang-rape. Incidents of stonings have been reported in Iraq and Pakistan, and forms a part of Afghan, Iranian, Nigerian, Indonesian, Sudanise, Saudi Arabian, and United Arab Emirate law. The Qur'an itself does not explicitly mention the act, but there are several sahih (authentic) hadith which speak of Muhammad ordering people to be stoned to death. According to hadith, the Qur'anic verses of stoning were written on a piece of paper and were lost when a goat ate the paper.
Crucifixion typically refers to the method of execution and/or torture by tying and/or nailing someone to a cross, stake or tree. It can also refer to the method of public display of a body after execution, such as the incident in Saudi Arabia when a convicted killer was beheaded and his body was "crucified." Despite the fact that Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, abolished crucifixion in the Roman Empire in ad 337, out of veneration for Jesus Christ, the most famous victim of crucifixion, Muhammad perpetuated this practice by declaring it a prescribed punishment in the Qur'an. Crucifixion as a method of torture and execution is reportedly still being used in Sudan and Iraq, both Islamic countries, and it is still a part of Iran's criminal code. Adding itself to the ranks of shari'ah-practicing leaderships, Hamas, the Islamic governing body of Gaza, reinstated the penalty of crucifixion in 2008.
Violence in the Afterlife
Violence in Islam is not only limited to this life, but is also an integral part of the afterlife. The belief that disbelievers will be punished may be true for other faiths, but the amount of text that Islamic devotes to detailing this punishment and the explicit and triumphant nature of their descriptions is certainly not. There are nearly 500 verses (roughly one out of every twelve) in the Qur'an which speak of Jahannam (Hell). We are told it was specifically created and prepared with eternal fire by Allah, so that he could torture disbelievers. In fact, disbelievers are the fuel of Allah's fire, and he even says that he had the option of 'giving every soul its guidance' but would prefer to 'fill Hell with jinns and men'. Some of the tortures include; wearing garments of liquid pitch and fire, being bound in yokes and chains, spending eternity in a blazing fire with exchangeable skins so that they can be roasted over and over again, faces being covered in fire and lips being burned off, boiling water being poured over heads and used to scald skin and internal organs, being dragged by the face through boiling water and fire, beaten with maces of iron, and being fed painful, noxious, choking foods which will leave people hungry and boil their insides.
Violence in Other Religions
"There is far more violence in the Bible than in the Qur'an; the idea that Islam imposed itself by the sword is a Western fiction, fabricated during the time of the crusades when, in fact, it was Western Christians who were fighting brutal holy wars against Islam." This quote sums up the single most influential argument currently serving to deflect the accusation that Islam is inherently violent and intolerant: All monotheistic religions, proponents of such an argument say, and not just Islam, have their fair share of violent and intolerant scriptures, as well as bloody histories. Thus, whenever Islam's sacred scriptures are highlighted as demonstrating the religion's innate bellicosity, the immediate rejoinder is that other scriptures, specifically those of Judeo-Christianity, are as riddled with violent passages. But is that really the case? Does Hebrew violence in the ancient era, and Christian violence in the medieval era compare to, explain away or even legitimize the tenacity of Muslim violence in the modern era?
Accidents and Natural Disasters
Many Muslims often gloat and celebrate when an accident or natural disaster befalls the non-Muslim world, believing that it is the actions of a vengeful Allah. For example, following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, some Muslims claimed this tragedy befell the Japanese because "Denying the Lordship of Allah and refusing to submit to Him in worship is the biggest act of injustice," and following the 2005 Atlantic hurricane which struck the United States, the high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, referred to Hurricane Katrina as a "wondrous storm", a "Wind of Torment and Evil from Allah", and a "Soldier of Allah". This belief stems from the fact that the Qur'an often states earthquakes are specifically sent to punish non-Muslims for their disbelief. As Allah's people, Muslims believe they will always be protected by Allah against such calamities. However accidents and natural disasters happen very often in Muslim countries and Allah seems to turn a blind eye when disaster strikes, even when they occur during the Hajj in Mecca, where Islam's holiest site, the Ka'aba, is located. Irrespective of the fact that the Qur'an tells us it is an "asylum of security for men".
Images and Videos
- Free Speech - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Free Speech
Other Core Articles
Core articles contain an overview of other articles related to a specific issue, and serve as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn about Islam:
- Islam and Apostasy
- Islam and Homosexuality
- Islam and Miracles
- Islam and Pedophilia
- Islam and Propaganda
- Islam and Science
- Islam and Scripture
- Islam and the People of the Book
- Islam and Women
- If the act of rape is not witnessed by four males, it is considered an admission of Zina (unlawful sexual intercourse) which is punishable with death.
- Michael Doyle - FBI data: Hate crimes against Muslims rare - The Miami Herald, August 27, 2010