ISIS stands well in the tradition of Islam as it was conceived of and instituted by Muhammad then carried on by his successors. It was a violent, militaristic, oppressive, intolerant, and murderous religion from the beginning.
In the name of Islam, Muhammad committed a plethora of atrocities. He murdered caravan traders from his own hometown; he murdered Jews; he endorsed the rape of captured women and sold them into slavery; he assassinated his enemies or people who would insult him or Islam; he endorsed lying and deceit as a means to get what he wanted; he spread Islam by conquering cities and forcing them to convert or die. In fact, his successors over the next century after his death, conquered Christian territories all the way up to Tours in France where Charles Martel defeated them to stop the advance.
Muhammad ruled by terror. Petty crimes were punished by the amputation of hands and feet. Families were burned alive in their homes for missing prayer time. He was anti-Semitic and hostile to Christians. The list of his crimes against humanity parallels those of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, or other violent Islamist groups today. These are the intellectual heirs of Muhammad.
The Religion of Peace website keeps track of Islamist terrorist activity. Just since 9/11 of 2001 more than 27,295 terrorist attacks have been carried out. Islam has been at war with the civilized world from the beginning. Islam is at the heart of almost every war in the world today. In fact, Islam has been at war with itself since the death of Muhammad when the Sunni and Shia factions developed. Violence is its ongoing legacy.
Islam is a religio-political system not simply a religion. Its goal is to supplant all other forms of government and to force Sharia law onto every population. This puts it at odds with Western societies where freedom of religion has become a right. Yet this aspect seems to be largely unknown or unacknowledged by Westerners. The tendency is to appeal to “peaceful” Muslims in these Western societies and ignore those who are violent or support violence. Some news is made when a terror cell is discovered and its members arrested but such cases do not seem to have long-lasting effect on the public consciousness. Muslims are trying to get Sharia law imposed in the United States in defiance of the Constitution. Court cases have multiplied in recent years and some states have moved to ban Sharia outright.
In every fundamental way, Islam is the anti-Christian version of a religion. Jesus never endorsed forced conversions or warfare as a means of spreading the gospel. He never endorsed a particular system of government. He condemned all the types of sins that Muhammad committed. Rather than murder those who insult you, Jesus taught people to pray for those who insult you and persecute you for your Christian faith. Jesus taught love for the personal enemy. His followers taught respect for just government authority; living at peace with those around you; compassion for the poor and downtrodden; respect for the sanctity of human life. Christian leaders did not kill each other in quests for power and order of succession after Jesus’ time on earth.
Islam is the problem, when it is practiced as it was founded. Thankfully, at least some Muslims choose to reject or ignore this history and attempt to practice a peaceful form of the religion. Unfortunately, it is difficult to fully trust even peaceful Muslims since individuals can be radicalized without others being aware of it. While young men are usually the targets of such radicalization, even women have been increasingly radicalized. The female suicide bomber in France was not a radical as little as six months before her death yesterday, according to her family. Wherever Islam is practiced there is the potential for radicalization. There are also real concerns about allowing large communities of Muslims to grow, as has become evident in Europe recently. In a CBN report from 2014 we learned that there are certain areas of France that police cannot effectively patrol and that assaults against native, white, non-Muslim French people by Muslims are a problem. Such facts do not instill confidence in the peaceful coexistence of Islam and religious freedom. Until Islam can divorce itself from Sharia and rely upon the law of the given country in which it resides, its adherents will rightly be suspect. It will take a long-term and fundamental reformation of Islam before it will be safe for the Western world.