How Peaceful Is Peaceful?
And then there is the question of characterizing Islam as “peaceful” and doing so under duress. That is, when you are being pursued and hounded by people who brand you as totally irrational and uncontrollably violent. So, you have a knee-jerk reaction, purely defensive and purely self-protective and blurt out that you are a “peaceful religion.” And you are absolutely and one hundred percent right in saying that. For, Islam is all about peace and truth and justice and kindness and compassion. But that is not what your accusers and tormenters are saying. They are pointing to all the violence that is going on in different parts of the Muslim world, violence in which Muslims are involved in one way or another, and saying that it is all Islam’s fault. But what some of these people conveniently forget is that there are all kinds of background factors and conditions that lead to violence in individuals, groups, nations and societies. They forget that peace is one state of human life and reality. Another is strife and conflict. A third reality of human life is force. Peace is the ideal state to which we all aspire and toward which we all work. Strife is the sad and gloomy reality in which human life is all too often mired. Legitimate, lawful and societally sanctioned force is the instrument that human beings have devised for minimizing and controlling strife and for maximizing peace. The foundation of true and lasting peace on earth and in any society is justice, love, compassion, integrity, truth, reasonableness and sound morality. Where this foundation is absent or weak, and where people’s most basic needs and legitimate rights and aspirations are not met, and are persistently and blatantly denied, chances of stable and lasting peace are minimized or jeopardized. All too often, then, those who have been systematically denied their basic and legitimate rights, and who are not allowed by nations, societies and governments any rightful recourse...
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