The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

Elsewhere I saw someone ask where this myth first started to ciruclate in the west. So, in the path of Michel Foucault, I went off to do some archaeology of knowledge (unlike the French Fraudster, I will provide actual citations). This is the earliest instance of the trope that I've been able to find so far. If we find earlier evidence of the construction of this mythology, we can add it here.

Muslims and Christians should join in jihad against common problems

The Independent. London (UK): May 20, 1996. pg. 14

Bismillah'h Ir Rahman-ir-Rahim, these words are used by millions of Muslims every day, that is, millions of times a day we hear the words that Allah - or God - is the Beneficent, the Merciful; this in essence is the spirit of Islam.

In spite of what you may read in the papers and see on TV, Islam is a religion of peace and compassion. Indeed the word Islam derives from the word for peace.Shortly before his death the prophet spoke at Arafat. He emphasised the unity of humanity and the need to respect others: "God has made you brethren one to another, so be not divided. An Arab has no preference over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one."

Many people do not appreciate that there is a close ideological and theological relationship for Muslims between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The basis of belief is the same. All three religions believe in the notion of the one divine God; they also believe that we are mortals temporarily put here on earth and that there is accountability for our actions, an afterlife. The Koran repeatedly points out that both Jews and Christians are "people of the Book". Indeed, for Muslims the prophets of Judaism and Christianity are also their prophets.

It is well to remember that when Muslims are being persecuted in Makkah in the early days of Islam, the holy Prophet sent them to the Christian land of Abyssinia, confident that they would find hospitality there. Late in the 20th century many Muslims again find refuge in the Christian - or at least partly Christian - land of Britain. These days I often wonder about the fate of those Muslims if a Michael Howard had been waiting for them in Abyssinia.

There are many steps that can be taken to help understanding between Islam and the West but the effort needs to come from both sides. A basic knowledge of Islam could be taught in Western schools so that children do not grow up in ignorance of it; ignorance breeds fear and prejudice. Conversely, Western values, like democracy, need to be explained in Muslim schools; also that the West has more to offer them than just sex and violence, the Muslim stereotype of the West.

Muslims must convince the world that the media images of them as law-breaking and violent people are not true, that foreign embassies, diplomats, travellers and non-Muslims are safe in their countries. These acts are one way of capturing the headlines but they are not Islamic in content or spirit. The fight against injustice and oppression must continue, but must take other forms. There are also too many stories of human rights violations in Muslim lands. Minorities feel threatened and vulnerable. This is not in the spirit of Islam.

How many know (and this question is also posed to Muslims) that the notion of the greater jihad, commonly misunderstood as an aggressive act of religious war in the West, which derives from the word to strive, was explained by the Prophet as the attempt to control our own base instincts and work towards a better, more harmonious world? The lesser jihad is to battle physically for Islam; that too only against tyranny or injustice.

The common problems in our world need to be identified: drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, teenage violence and crime, ethnic and racist prejudice, the problems of the aged and the poor; the challenge of the growing sense of anarchy and rampant materialism; the sexual debasement of women and children; the depletion of our natural resources and ecological concerns. On all these issues, Islam takes a strong, enlightened position. This is the real Islamic jihad and, if it is properly harnessed and understood, it can provide fresh, sorely needed strength to these most crucial of global issues.

This article is excerpted from a sermon preached last night at Selwyn College Cambridge. The writer's book 'Living Islam: from Samarkand to Stornoway' (1995) is published by BBC-Penguin.

Of course, what this fails to mention is that Ibn Ishaq's Life of Mohammed (the earliest biography of Mohammed), was also known by muslims under another name: The Book of Campaigns, i.e. the Book of Battles (Guillaume translation, p. xvii). The chapter titles show why it was known proudly by this war-like title: about 30 of the chapters refer to raids, attacks and murders initiated by Mohammed. How is it that something so fundamentally opposed to the concept of peace is omitted from this gloss? How is it that this can be so glibly stated at a talk in Cambridge University, yet the assembled arabists and orientalists remain mute? How is that "The Independent" (sic) should fail to comment on this contradiction (where's the independence in that?) It would be interesting to see if the author's book Living Islam mentions any of these thirty authoritatively verified violent incidents in Mohammed's life.

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Islam has only got to the stage it got in our countries through TAQQIYA. By hiding the truth, they manage to convince people that Islam is a religion of peace. I believe people are not only ignorant and blinded to the truth but that they are intellectually lazy and won't go out there to learn the truth about Islam.

Of course that you must judge a religion by its followers and by its books. In both these stances Islam comes out as a violent, prejudiced, racist, authoritarian and discriminative political ideology. So from any angle you look you will get to these truths anyway.  

Muslims know that the majority of people simply "do not care" enough to search for the truth, and that is also true when it comes to media reports and others. People simply "believe" it because it is easier that way.

I've found earlier references to this trope.

Wahiduddin Khan, 1998, Principles of Islam, has a "chapter" devoted to this trope - pp.130-133.

Mirza Tahir Ahmad, 1988, Some distinctive features of Islam, p.25 uses the same claim as Akbar S. Ahmed (Liviing Islam), concerning Mohammed's speech before his death.  It would seem that this booky by Ahmad is a book by an Ahmaddiya muslim, since immediately following the passage claiming it is "a religion of peace" is a chapter on the Ahmaddiya sect.

Khwaja Ghulam Saiyidain, Islam, The Religion of Peace 1976, is almost entirely devoted to this trope.

Ishtiaq Husain Quershi, 1930, The Religion of Peace.  Since Quershi also wrote works on The Administration of the Mughal Empire (1966), one has to assume that him calling it "the religion of peace" did not mean it was a religion of peace.

Clearly this trope was in use before the first bombing of the WTC, before the assassination of Kahane, before the threats to kill Salman Rushdie.

My suspicion is that this trope re-emerges in response to muslim violence and supremacism.  Since it occurs at least in 1930 by an Indian muslim (I.H.Quersh), who later wrote books glorying the Mughal empire, it is pertinent to look at what was going on in the Raj before WW2.

The growth of Muslim separatism from the late 19th century and the rise of communal violence from the 1920s to the virulent outbreaks of 1946-1947, were major contributory factors in the timing and shape of independence.

However, it was only from the late 1930s that it became inevitable that independence could only be achieved if accompanied by a partition. This partition would take place along the subcontinent's north-western and north-eastern boundaries, creating two sovereign nations of India and Pakistan.

Muslims, as a religious community, comprised only 20% of the population and represented great diversity in economic, social and political terms.

From the late 19th century, some of its political elites in northern India felt increasingly threatened by British devolution of power, which by the logic of numbers would mean the dominance of the majority Hindu community.

Seeking power and a political voice in the imperial structure, they organised themselves into a party to represent their interests, founding the Muslim League in 1906.

They achieved something of a coup by persuading the British that they needed to safeguard the interests of the minorities, a demand that fed into British strategies of divide and rule. The inclusion of separate electorates along communal lines in the 1909 Act, subsequently enlarged in every successive constitutional act, enshrined a form of constitutional separatism.

While there is no denying that Islam and Hinduism were and are very different faiths, Muslims and Hindus continued to co-exist peaceably. There were, however, occasional violent outbursts which were driven more often than not by economic inequities.

Even politically, the Congress and the League cooperated successfully during the Khilafat and Non Cooperation movements in 1920-1922. And Muhammad Ali Jinnah (the eventual father of the Pakistani nation) was a Congress member till 1920.

Although Congress strove to stress its secular credentials with prominent Muslim members - for example, Maulana Azad served as its president through World War Two - it is criticised for failing to sufficiently recognise the importance of a conciliatory position towards the League in the inter-war years, and for its triumphant response to Congress's 1937 election victory.

The Muslim League advocated the idea of Pakistan in its annual session in 1930, yet the idea did not achieve any political reality at the time. Furthermore, the League failed to achieve the confidence of the majority of the Muslim population in the elections of 1937.

I will look for pre 20th century assertions of the trope.

[As an aside, this sounds like Kahanism: "The inclusion of separate electorates along communal lines in the 1909 Act, subsequently enlarged in every successive constitutional act, enshrined a form of constitutional separatism."  Seems it was suitable for muslims and hindus to have nations that separated religions, but not the jews.]

After searching through the catalogues of the British Library and the University of London, I can't find any trace of this trope before 1930.  The trope seems to have arisen in India in the 1930s.  In fact, from 1930 to the end of the century, it seems that Indian/Pakistani writers are the ones who have pushed this trope most (this is judging from the place of publication of the books; it could well be that many of those publishing the books via western publishers are also Pakistanis or of Pakistani descent).

Here are a few more. 

Abdul Karim Maulavi, Islam : a universal religion of peace & progress, 1938

SM Shawkat Ali, Islam, the religion of unity and peace, 1999. 

K G Saiyidain, Islam, the religion of peace, 1976. Asghar Ali,The Prophet of non-violence : spirit of peace, compassion & universality in Islam, 2011.


I found some dissenting views emerging shortly after 2001. 

Scruton, RReligion of Peace? Islam, without the comforting cliches, National review. VOL 54; PART 25, ; 2002, 31-32  

Bukay, D., Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam Islam was a religion of peace, but only for the first twenty years, Middle East quarterly. VOL 14; NUMB 4, ; 2007, 3-12


These are the earliest works I've found calling islam "the religion of peace":

Maulavi Abdul Karim, Islam: a Universal Religion of Peace and Progress, India, 1938

Ishtiaq Hussain Quereshi, The Religion of Peace, India, 1930

They both make for very interesting reading (as they are clearly works of propaganda, which omit to talk about Surah 9).

Of course, what is really interesting is why they should feel the need to write such works of propaganda at such a time.  It also means that for almost 100 years, muslims have been lying to westerners about islam.

Pakistani Taliban make ceasefire offer to Pakistani Government: Adopt Sharia and go to war with India

"It also said that any religious scholar will confirm that the defence of dignity, self-respect, life, property and faith was the right of every Muslim and fighting for this right is called Jihad, according to the report." Jihad? The Taliban, a brutal and bloody force for oppression, call what they are doing "jihad"? But...but...I thought "jihad" was just getting in your exercise and taking the kids to school. Surely Hamas-linked CAIR's Ahmed Rehab is jetting over to Pakistan as we speak, so as to disabuse Ehsanullah Ehsan and other Taliban members of their misunderstandings of jihad.

"Taliban wants Sharia in Pakistan, war with India," from NitiCentral, December 27:

The Pakistani Taliban has made a conditional ceasefire offer to the Pakistan Government which calls for an end to Pakistan’s participation in the Afghan war, the imposition of Sharia law in the country, and to avenge the embarrassing defeat of Pakistan in the 1971 War, a GEO News report said.

The offer was made by Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan in a telephonic call from an unknown place, the report said.

The letter calls for repeal of all laws in Pakistan which are repugnant to Islam and says the Constitution should be re-written in the light of the Quran and Sunnah, the report said.

The letter says the Taliban was dragged into a war with Pakistan and the Government and the army were responsible for this, the report said.

The war with the Taliban was started by the army and it was their religious right to defend themselves, the letter said.

It also said that any religious scholar will confirm that the defence of dignity, self-respect, life, property and faith was the right of every Muslim and fighting for this right is called Jihad, according to the report.

The Taliban condemned the Pakistan Army’s actions, calling them mercenaries for America. The Taliban said Pakistan should have a “Pure Islamic Army”, the report said.

“Instead of taking out guns against Muslims (Ahle Islam), the Pakistan Army should prepare to take revenge for the 1971 war (with India). This will also add the potential of Kashmiri mujahideen to our forces,” the Taliban said, according to the report.

The Taliban letter said Pakistan was its country and they “love its streets and plains and deserts, but we cannot sacrifice our faith for this love,” according to the report.

“If we are attacked even those who are now away from the fighting will take up arms and many more fronts will open,” it said. The Taliban said now the Government of Pakistan should decide what it wanted to do.

The letter asked this correspondent to convey the Taliban message to the Pakistani nation, according to the report.

Indian Muslim leader says, "Remove police for 15 minutes, we will finish off one billion Hindus"

A crore equals ten million, so 100 crore Hindus would be a billion. He is boasting that the Muslims could essentially wipe the Hindus from the face of the earth in fifteen minutes, if the police look the other way.

This joins the Iranian leadership's many genocidal statements against Israel in being ignored by a world "human rights" community that is consumed with working out a remedy to "Islamophobia."

"Akbaruddin in trouble for hate speech," from TNN, December 29 (thanks to Lookmann):

HYDERABAD: Akbaruddin Owaisi, the firebrand leader of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), was on Friday taken to court over his disparaging remarks against Hindus in a hate speech, the main content of which was that Muslims would need just 15 minutes without the police to show 100 crore Hindus who is more powerful.

In a complaint filed against the MIM legislator, an advocate said he had stumbled upon YouTube uploaded hate speech made at a public meeting at Adilabad on December 24, about 300 km from the city.

The VII additional chief metropolitan magistrate after admitting the petition said the matter will be heard on December 31.

Akbaruddin, who is the younger brother of MIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, said Hindus have so many gods and goddesses, and every eight days, there are new gods coming up. "We knew about Lakshmi, but who is Bhagyalakshmi, we are not aware," Akbar said referring to the Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting the historic Charminar....

"Inflammatory speech by MLA Akbaruddin - Remove police for 15 mins, We will finish off 100 crore Hindus," tweeted television commentator and interviewer Karan Thapar, which was re-tweeted by journalist and columnist Swapan Dasgupta.

So the claim that "Islam is the Religion of Peace" originated in India in the 1930s.  It looks like it was the "communal violence" and assassinations there in the 1920s which led to islam being considered "a religon of violence".

 In 1925 a young Muslim activist assassinated the Hindu revivalist leader Swami Shradhanand. The swami, who had advocated reconverting low-caste converts to Islam back to Hinduism, had publicly slighted Muslim beliefs. The assassination led to widespread criticism of Islam as a religion of violence by the Indian press.

Thus, the lie that it is the religion of peace goes hand in hand with muslim violence.  It is a tried and tested formula.  When muslims resident in the west started to threaten assassinations and initiate riots (1989 to 2001) as they had in India in the 1920s, the "Religion of Peace" trope is trotted out to deceive the kuffar.

Next time someone uses that expression we should respond "islam is to peace what national socialism is to socialism".

The Times, 1935.

Imam of London Mosque objects to comparison of islam and bolshevism. Imam says "islam is the religion of peace".

This lie was then repeated again in 1936, in the context of violence between jews and arabs in Palestine.

ISRAEL M. SIEFF. "The Impasse In Palestine." Times [London, England] 26 Sept. 1936:

Also claimed in 1989, in relation to Rushdie Affair.

Jefrey Littman, et al. "Legal, moral and religious issues on 'Satanic Verses'." Times [London, England] 22 Feb. 1989

Again, right after 9/11.

Greg Hurst and David Charter. "Blair wins muted support for military action against terror." Times [London, England] 3 Oct. 2001. This time stated by a journalist, with no critical comment whatsoever.

Gove was critical of Blair calling Islam the religion of peace in 2002.  Michael Gove. "The New Left inherits a tradition of hatred." Times [London, England] 19 Feb. 2002.  He was silent in 2015 when Cameron & May also made this claim.

in a letter on pan-islamism and the Caliphate

the consolidation of islam under one theocratic head, it is devoutly to be welcomed by all who recognize in "the Religion of Peace" a protest alike against Asiatic idolatry, on the one hand, and European atheism on the other. The truly devout Mahomedan is the grandest gentleman I kno; he fears God, and he truly fears none else!  GEORGE BIRDWOOD. "'Pan-Islamism And The Khalifate.'." Times [London, England] 7 Aug. 1908

So, this guy is basically a totalitarian theocrat - opposed to atheism and opposed to any religion which has more than 1 god. It seems the treachery in England begins earlier than we might have thought.

This would appear to be the earliest use of the phrase in The Times, and is not found at all from 1800 onwards. Birdwood was Anglo-Indian. So, I'm guessing that this lie was being generated in India even earlier than 1908.

What follows is an extract from the French Ministry of War. A more accurate account of islam than any that has appeared in the British media for probably 50 years.

"Holy War Of The Mussulmans." Times [London, England] 16 Oct. 1840: 3

Note also: islam is here referred to as "islamism". That is probably a direct transliteration from the French. And there is no indication that "islamism" is anything other than islam. You will probably need to open the image in another tab or download it, and then choose to increase the size in order to read it (press ctrl and "+" key at the same time; ctrl and the "minus" key to reduce the size of the image.)

From the end of paragraph 4:

We are about to give a succinct view of this code, which, after having flourished for so many years, is gradually losing influence, and, from two cause, appears doomed to disappear altogether.  These causes are the increasing apathy of Islamism, and the ascendancy of a new and higher civilisation.

I think that is one reason why Western governments did not identify the fundamental threat of Islam, destroy Mecca and revert Turkey, Syria, Egypt, etc, back to their original Christian state.  The idea was that even in 1840, Islam was on the way out, and like a sick dog, it would be shameful to kick it when it's down.  There was a total confidence in the new, democratic and industrial organisation of the West, and its ability to defeat all comers.

How wrong they were!  Western civilisation was doomed to eat itself from within, and Islam, thanks to oil money, and the ideological inspiration of Sayyid Qutb, Hassan al Banna and Maulana Maududi, was destined to go from strength to strength.  It is well said that pride comes before a fall.


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