Is Islam a Religion of War

We regularly find the message being spread that Islam is a peaceful religion; that most Islamic people are peaceful, or that terrorists do not reflect on the Islamic faith. Few Christians are expert enough at Islamic interpretation to make a bold, irrefutable claim about the nature of the Quran; such would be hubris. There are areas of Islamic interpretation, such as discussions of the doctrine of abrogation that affect Islamic interpretation of the Quran in ways that conflict with the application of an Evangelical understanding of the New Testament. It takes very little time online to realize that Muslims regularly make ridiculous arguments about New Testament (particularly when they discuss textual criticism), and Christians stepping into Quranic interpretation face the same dangers, due to a lack of expertise. Of course, many terrorist organizations make it clear that, at least their understanding of Islam is such that they believe Islam to be a religion of war; not peace, including Isis and Al Qaeda. Many western or westernized Muslims suggest that the interpretation of Islam put forward by Isis is incorrect, but western most western Christians faces the same problems as one arguing that Islam is a religion of peace, namely: Christians are not experts in the Quran or the Hadiths. It is unjust to accept the “non-radicalized” Muslim Imam, trained in Paris, over the radical Wahhabist Imam, trained in Saudi Arabia, simply because the westerner fits Western prejudices.

So how should moderns judge the real nature of Islam? It is unwise to choose between the two based on what we want to believe, nor can we simply assert all religions are ultimately the same; the proposition that all religions is unproven, and in studying religion, I believe it to be unfounded. It is possible, however, to adduce some facts on the discussion concerning whether Islam is a religion of peace or of war without beginning with an assumption that Christians can be experts in the interpretation of the Quran. Recent surveys indicate, for example, that Christian refugees are facing persecution in a variety of forms, inflicted by Muslim refugees,[1] and that those converting to Christianity in Islamic dominant countries, such as Lebanon, face persecution:[2] so much so that some choose to wait to accept baptism until they have relocated into Western lands.[3] In most Islamic dominate countries, Christians do not have the full rights to practice their religion in Saudi Arabia,[4] Egypt,[5] and of course in areas dominated by ISIS. Similarly, there are issues of honor killings in the West as well as in the middle east, and these cannot be so easily written off, and the evidence is abundant.

Nor is this simply a modern phenomenon, historically, the facts indicate that the war school of Islam has a long-standing pedigree. It is fashionable to claim that Islamic radicalism is a response to the Crusades, but the Crusades, themselves were an extension of the response to more than three hundred years of Islamic aggression.[6] The persecution of Christians (along with Jews and other religious minorities), the destruction of Christian holy sites, and the persecution of Western pilgrims[7] within the Islamic caliphate were important causes for the Christian response.  Following the Crusades, Islam continued to advance by the sword; not by sending missionaries to other places. The conquest of Turkey in the fifteenth century was followed by attempts to invade Europe, before being driven back by Western European coalitions.

Whatever may be the truth about the correct interpretation of the Quran, the views espoused by terrorists appear to represent the historical practice of Islam, and while some moderns call for a “reformation” within Islam, on the wonders if, in fact, ISIS is Islamic reformation; but that will be a question for later historians if the Lord tarries.

So what do we do with this information? My goals aren’t political; the questions of the United States government’s policies on vetting of refugees is not something I will claim expertise at doing. Westernized Muslims exist, and it is dangerous to tarnish them as collaborators with ISIS. Nor will I make an argument that westernized Muslims are somehow dishonest or are closet Jihadists. My point instead goes to a deeper question, is Islam true? In a sense, this question itself isn’t answered by the question of whether Islam is a religion of peace or a religion of war, but it should at least lead to question the idea that all religions are alike, or that all religions lead to the same place, it gives us a reason to examine the truth claims of both. In another sense, perhaps our revulsion at the types of crimes and violent behavior related to Islam is something that the Creator has placed in us, a rejection of what we know to be wrong, even if we deny He who taught us what is right and wrong.


[1]Jill Nelson, “Danger follows Christian Refugees.” World Magazine Online posted 10-26-14. Accessed 28-May. Mansfield, Katie. “Hundreds of Christian Refugees Sexually Abused and Beaten by Muslims in German Camps.”, October 21, 2016. Accessed 28-May“Persecution Continues in Germany for Christian Refugees.” The Stream, October 22, 2016. Accessed 20-May, 2017.


        [2] “Why Some Muslim Syrian Refugees Are Converting to Christianity.” Public Radio International. Accessed May 27, 2017. Accessed 28-May 2017.


                        [3] Kasinof, Laura. “A New Home and a New Religion in Germany.” The Atlantic, October 14, 2016.  Acces Accessed 28-May (, Deutsche Welle. “Christian Refugee Converts in Germany Face Violent Attacks | Germany Guide for Refugees | DW | 05.05.2017.” DW.COM. Accessed May 27, 2017. Accessed 27-May 2017.


[4] Lodge, Carey, “Muslims converting to Christianity in Saudi Arabia, despite intense persecution.” Christianity Today May 31, 2016. Accessed 1-July 2017.

[5]  Raymond Ibrahim “Egypt: Muslim Convert to Christianity rots in prison.” May 26, 2015 Accessed 1-July 2017.

[6]Rodney Stark. God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades. (New York: Harper-Collins E-books, 2009), 12-53.

[7]Rodney Stark. God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades. (New York: Harper-Collins E-books, 2009), 55-97.