Responses to anti-Islamic Polemics

Islam: Only peaceful when in the minority?

Critics of Islam allege that Islam is a only a peaceful religion when Muslims are in the minority, however once Muslims become the majority and become the ones in power, Islam ceases to be peaceful. Some proponents go as far as calling this ‘stealth Jihad’, Muslims just bidding their time to take over and then do as they please.

Such rhetoric is nothing new, throughout history bigots and racists have always resorted to such claims against the minority, arguing that the minority is a 5th column just waiting to take over and then show their true colours.

To the claim itself, is it really true, that when Muslims are in a minority, that Islam is peaceful but when Muslims become the majority and into power, Islam then suddenly turns violent?

This claim is easily refutable, one only has to look at history, and the present. If it is true that once Muslims become the majority, that they then show their violent side and start putting everyone to the sword, then why do non-Muslim communities exist in the Muslim world? These communities exist now, and have existed for centuries in the Muslim world.

Why didn’t the Muslim state eliminate all non-Muslims once they came into power? Surely if the claims were true, we would expect to find this, and expect to find no non-Muslims living in the Muslim world, yet we find no such thing.

When we do look at history, we find that when Muslims did come into power, they made sure to look after the non-Muslims that were living under the new Muslim state. If this wasn’t the case, then there would be no non-Muslims living in the Muslim world, past and present. Some of the oldest Churches are still standing in the Muslim world, how is that even possible if the claims of Islamophobes are true? Surely they should’ve been all destroyed right?

We also have one very good example of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that puts such a claim to rest with the conquest of Makkah. The Muslims managed to capture the city with 10,000 men, if the claims of Islamophobes are correct, then the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Muslims would’ve put the pagans of the city to the sword. Instead what happened was the following:

‘0 people of Quraysh! What do you think I will do with you?’ One of them, Suhayl ibn Amr, who had fought against the Prophet, replied on behalf of the Makkans: ‘We think (you will treat us) well, noble brother, son of a noble brother.’ A radiant smile flashed across the face of the beloved Prophet of God and, in a spirit of magnanimity and tolerance, he said: “I shall speak to you as Yusuf [Joseph] spoke unto his brothers: ‘There is no reproach against you today; God will forgive. He is the most Merciful and the most Compassionate.’ ” (Quran,12:92) And he added: ‘No more responsibility burdens you today. ‘Idhhabuu… wa antum at-tulaqaa – Go, for you are free.’ (Ibn Ishaque)

Another incident that refutes the Islamophobe claim comes during the reign of Umar al-Khattab, the second caliph (ruler) of the Islamic state. When Umar managed to capture Jerusalem, the following treaty was made with the new Muslim rulers, and it’s non-Muslim inhabitants:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has given to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and healthy of the city and for all the rituals which belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their cross, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted. No Jew will live with them in Jerusalem.

The people of Jerusalem must pay the taxes like the people of other cities and must expel the Byzantines and the robbers. Those of the people of Jerusalem who want to leave with the Byzantines, take their property and abandon their churches and crosses will be safe until they reach their place of refuge. The villagers may remain in the city if they wish but must pay taxes like the citizens. Those who wish may go with the Byzantines and those who wish may return to their families. Nothing is to be taken from them before their harvest is reaped.

If they pay their taxes according to their obligations, then the conditions laid out in this letter are under the covenant of God, are the responsibility of His Prophet, of the caliphs and of the faithful.

So Umar made an agreement with the Christians of the city, guaranteeing their right to religious freedom, guarantying their safety, and this also extended to their places of worship etc. Now if the Islamophobe claim is true, that once Muslims get into power that they started hurting everybody, then surely Umar would’ve ordered all the inhabitants of Jerusalem to convert to Islam, and would’ve then proceeded to destroy their places of worship etc. Yet the opposite happens, so obviously something doesn’t add up here, and what doesn’t add up are the flimsy Islamophobic claims.

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