Islam Is A Religion Of Peace

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is the rise of terrorism and violence justifiably traced to the teachings of Islam, or is this call to war a twisted interpretation of the true Muslim faith? Most of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are moderates who see Islamic terrorism as a violation of their sacred texts. Is it wrong to let a radical minority represent authentic Islam? Has fear blinded us to its lessons of tolerance and peace?

  • For the motion


    Zeba Kahn

    Writer and advocate for Muslim-American civic engagement

  • For the motion


    Maajid Nawaz

    Director of the Quilliam Foundation

  • Against the Motion


    Douglas Murray

    Founder and Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion

  • Against the motion


    Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    Founder, A.H.A. Foundation

  • Moderator Image


    John Donvan

    Author and correspondent for ABC News.

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For The Motion

Zeba Kahn

Writer and advocate for Muslim-American civic engagement

is a writer and advocate for Muslim-American civic engagement. Born and raised in Ohio by devout Muslim parents, she attended Hebrew school for 9 years all while actively participating in her local Muslim community. In 2008, she launched Muslim-Americans for Obama, an online network to mobilize Muslim-American voters in support of the Obama presidential campaign. Since then, she continues to work on issues of Muslim-American civic engagement and was recognized for her work by the American Society for Muslim Advancement as a 2009 Muslim Leader of Tomorrow.

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Maajid Nawaz

For The Motion

Maajid Nawaz

Director of the Quilliam Foundation

is director of the Quilliam Foundation. Formerly, Nawaz served on the UK national leadership for the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), and was involved in HT for almost 14 years. He was a founding member of HT in Denmark and Pakistan and eventually served four years in an Egyptian prison as a “prisoner of conscience” adopted by Amnesty International. In prison, Maajid gradually began changing his views until finally renouncing the Islamist Ideology for traditional Islam and inclusive politics.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Against The Motion

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Founder, A.H.A. Foundation

was born in Somalia and raised a devout Muslim. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament for 3 years. She has since become an active critic of fundamentalist Islam, an advocate for women's rights and a leader in the campaign to reform Islam, establishing the AHA Foundation in 2007.

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Against The Motion

Douglas Murray

Founder and Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion

is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He is also founder and director of the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), a non-partisan think-tank in Westminster, London, which focuses on radicalization and has published work on both Islamist and far-right extremism.

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Declared Winner: Against The Motion

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    • Comment Link Mohammad Aslam Khan Sunday, 17 April 2016 15:48 posted by Mohammad Aslam Khan

      We are deciding for and against Islam in this debate where majority of audience has perhaps not read or not read enough about Islam. Don,t you think the same is going on out there in public which only hear the news bulletins????

    • Comment Link John de Clef Pineiro Tuesday, 08 March 2016 04:18 posted by John de Clef Pineiro

      As human beings, we can pick and choose whatever we want to believe. We can swallow whole a contradictory totality, or we can cherry pick a perspective, citing to passages here and there. The Qur'an, as a basis for spiritual belief, allows for all of that, which readily explains how one can find believers across a wide spectrum of observance and practice, whether peaceful or violent. The same can be said of the Judaic and Christian Bibles. He or she who wishes to subscribe to any of them can do so and practice peace or war. The history of human civilization proves that that is not only possible, but has manifested itself at various times, among various people. This means that, as to the motion, any of us can just as easily substitute the word "Islam" with "Christianity" or "Judaism." With that said: I agreed with the majority of the audience in how they finally responded.

    • Comment Link Connie Sunday, 28 February 2016 11:30 posted by Connie

      Not a matter of what a person believes. Facts are the only way to decide. Fact: they follow Koran and it teaches to kill those who will not convert. What more do you need to come to the realization that their desire to kill is the very basis of their non peaceful exsistance. Why is it necessary to make the obvious so obscure.

    • Comment Link Achievements of islamic leader Tuesday, 26 January 2016 06:59 posted by Achievements of islamic leader

      Islam is not a religion of violence, it's a religion of peace, but i will say the real peace and no other religion can be as peaceful as Islam. Just read the Quran and Hadith fully, and then arrange a debate over it. 100% certain all will be in the same supposition that Islam is the religion of love and peace.

    • Comment Link Christian Friday, 11 December 2015 02:36 posted by Christian

      There are just too many 'islamic' terrorist groups for the argument that Islam is a religion of peace to be believed. Boko haram, Isis, Al-shabab, Al-qaida, Hamas, Abu-sayef, interahamwe, and many others. Or does peace have the same meaning as violence in Arabic?

    • Comment Link CindyV Tuesday, 08 December 2015 15:05 posted by CindyV

      He understood exactly what Ayaan Hirsi Ali said about the hymen, but he chose to make it a joke. He kept changing the subject and did not address the issue at hand which was whether or not Islam is a religion of peace. Based on this debate, clearly Islam is not a religion of peace. It's just like trying to get peace out of a foundation of chaos. It's simply not possible.

    • Comment Link Martin Cooper Sunday, 22 November 2015 13:59 posted by Martin Cooper

      Very informative debate. I believed Islam to be a peaceful religion that is distorted and hijacked by fanatics. Afterwards I feel the religion it self is flawed. Reason: the leaders of Islam who question any of it's tenants or beliefs are afraid to speak up for fear of reprisal. It seems the majority of Ayatollah's and Mullahs who understand Islam, seem to condone acts of terrorism by their refusal to condemn them. If these men refuse to speak out to show the world Islam is not affiliated with the fanatics, suicide bombers and terrorist. This fact leads me to believe Islam is not a peaceful religion. It needs to evole like every other great religion. That can only happen when the so called moderate muslim clerics develop the courage and resolve to challenge the literal interpretation of the Quran's most vicious commandments.

    • Comment Link Joe Saturday, 23 May 2015 12:16 posted by Joe

      49:00 is there a third debater we didn't know about? Three vs. two?

      Please moderator. Let the debate continue. Don't silence.

    • Comment Link Joe Saturday, 23 May 2015 11:00 posted by Joe

      10:50 Twist our faith? I don't think she is being truthful/ernest. I can't reconcile that statement after watching this scolar in the following video read actual passages from the Koran:

      Please be earnest and post this comment above. Share knowledge, don't hide it.

    • Comment Link Brian Wednesday, 14 January 2015 16:18 posted by Brian

      Many religions contain both good and bad people.

      For example, the Crusades had millions of Christians and Muslims murdering each other in the name of their gods! Does that make either God, Jesus or Allan bad. No - I don't think so.

      Most of the world's religions were created as peaceful! However, men and women have twisted the religious messages, and oftentimes caused harm to one another in the form of intolerance and destructive behaviors.

      We all need to do a better job ob practicing the Golden Rule- do onto others, as we would want them to do onto us!

    • Comment Link Chuck Monday, 12 January 2015 17:21 posted by Chuck

      Any God that asks you to kill in his name is a weak and powerless god. My God is all powerful and strong. He does not ask anyone to kill in his name. That right is reserved to god alone.

      Any Prophet that demands that you harm or kill those that you perceive to have insulted him is an insecure, weak false prophet. The mission of of Prophets of God is to bring souls into the fullness of the love of God.

      Any Religion that requires those that leave it be killed is a weak religion, not worthy of consideration.

    • Comment Link Michael Q. Rudnin Friday, 26 December 2014 01:55 posted by Michael Q. Rudnin

      If a religion has violent passages in its dogma, it is not a religion of peace. Shall I quote a dozen passages from the Koran which are violent in nature, which are read like directives for hostility, as well as a slap in the face of modern secular morality?

    • Comment Link Darren Friday, 26 December 2014 00:16 posted by Darren

      add the undecided to those not in favour and you'll have a better idea of what people really feel.

    • Comment Link Kevin Friday, 21 November 2014 16:37 posted by Kevin

      This was probably the worst debate. Ali and Nawaz would not stop talking over others, Ali being the worse offender. Occasionally stepping on each other's heels is reasonable especially on such a sensitive topic but these two were so unprofessional it was hard to listen to them.

    • Comment Link Subh Monday, 13 October 2014 21:41 posted by Subh

      My exact point of view in this respect...

    • Comment Link zuma Friday, 19 September 2014 21:12 posted by zuma

      Jihadists, i.e. ISIS, have abused the phrase, turn them out from where they have turned you out, in Quran 2:191 (Moshin Khan translation) to be turn all countries out where they have turned Muslims out from Muslim state in the past. Or in other words, ISIS have the intention to conquer all countries, i.e. Russia, Iran, Portuguese, Turkey, Arab and etc., so as to restore Islamic state.

      Their false teaching has contradicted the Hadith verses below:

      (Book #44, Hadith #675)-Sahih Bukhari:
      Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: The Prophet established the right of Shu'fa (i.e. Pre-emption) in joint properties; but when the land is divided and the ways are demarcated, then there is no pre-emption.

      As the phrase, the land is divided and the ways are demarcated, is mentioned above with the phrase, no pre-emption, it implies that Muslims do not have the right of pre-emption over Muslim state since the land has been divided and demarcated. Or in other words, Muslim state has been gone many years ago.

      The same is mentioned in the Book #44, Hadith #676-Sahih Bukhari:
      Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: The Prophet said, "The right of pre-emption is valid in every joint property, but when the land is divided and the way is demarcated, then there is no right of pre-emption."

      Another false teaching from jihadists, i.e. ISIS, is they want to destroy all non-Muslim countries due to their teaching contradicts the teaching of Quran.

      ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #1)-Moshin Khan translation:
      Freedom from (all) obligations (is declared) from Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to those of the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), with whom you made a treaty.

      The word, obligations…from Allah, as mentioned here could be non-Muslims have to believe in Allah; they have to abide in Muslim laws; and etc. The phrase, Freedom from (all) obligation…from Allah, implies the freedom not to follow all the obligations from Allah. As the phrase, Freedom from (all) obligations, is mentioned here with the word, polytheists, it implies that this freedom for not complying all the obligations from Allah is given to non-Muslims. As the phrase, whom you made a treaty, is mentioned here, it implies that all the obligations from Allah, such as, obeying Muslim laws, are not applicable to non-Muslims as long as there is a treaty.

      Quran 9:1-Picktal translation:
      Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty.

      As the phrase, Freedom from obligation…from Allah, is mentioned above with the word, idolaters with whom ye made a treaty, it implies that non-Muslims have the freedom not to follow the obligation from Allah when they is a treaty.

      Quran 9:1-Shakir translation:
      (This is a declaration of) immunity by Allah and His Apostle towards those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement.

      The word, immunity, is defined in the dictionary to be exemption from obligation, service duty, or liability to taxation, jurisdiction, etc. Thus, the phrase, immunity of Allah, should be interpreted as exemption of the obligation from Allah. Or in other words, special right given not to follow Allah’s obligation, such as, obeying Muslim laws; believing in Allah, and etc. As the phrase, immunity by Allah, is mentioned here with the phrase, those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, it implies that non-Muslims have the exemption from obeying Allah’s obligation, such as, obeying Muslim laws, when there is agreement of peace treaty.

      Quran 9:1-Yusuf Ali translation:
      A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His Messenger, to those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances:-

      AS the phrase, immunity from Allah, is mentioned with the phrase, those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances, it implies that non-Muslims have the right of exemption for not obeying Muslim laws when there is contracted mutual alliances.

      Thus, how could jihadists, i.e. ISIS, accuse the laws from non-Muslims and want to turn them down with the hope of conquering them without realizing the special exemption from non-Muslims have been granted in Quran?

    • Comment Link Tom Evans Tuesday, 16 September 2014 18:52 posted by Tom Evans

      "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every finger tip of them"

      No matter the context, war, over tea, the fact that the so called prophet said those words and even command such violence is clear evidence that violence is promoted. To deny that violence is not part of Islam is like saying that oxygen is not part of the atmosphere.

      Its violent, and that is why blood shed fills every Muslim land. It was founded on violence and conquest....

    • Comment Link Steve Monday, 01 September 2014 01:03 posted by Steve

      Most Muslims believe Islam is a religion of peace because if they don't, they'll be killed by other Muslims.

    • Comment Link Samba Saturday, 30 August 2014 05:01 posted by Samba

      Very interesting. There is a new approach about Islam:

    • Comment Link Raz D Friday, 15 August 2014 06:29 posted by Raz D

      Islamists often point out that out of 1.6billion Muslims only a small minority are violent. This is true. The vast majority of Muslims live normal family lives, they have jobs, they are occupied by the routine, like most people living in societies across the world. This is just normal human behaviour. There are very few people who are sufficiently motivated to take up violent struggle to defend Islam on a full time basis. This does not mean that the majority non- violent Muslims don't identify with the cause. They may even denounce the violent ones as part of a extremist fringe. However, a "pious" Muslim given sufficient provocation, say ....a cartoon of the prophet, defilement of the Quran, or any one of hundreds of blasphemous or insulting acts to islam will condone if not perpetrate violence himself. He will shrug of barbaric acts of savagery by stating that the victim brought on the violence or "asked for it" by inciting the passions of the devout Muslim.
      Today there is wide spread condemnation of Israel but where is the anger and protests against the horrendous atrocities by ISIS. The Muslim voices denouncing ISIS are usually Shia or other non Sunni ones, the ones at the receiving end. Does any one doubt what Hamas would do if they possessed a WMD? Would they hesitate to nuke Israel?

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