Sunday, January 12, 2014

Is Islam A Religion of Peace?

By Namo Abdulla - for Rudaw



Washington, DC -The near-three-year-old civil war in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people. It has also caused a refugee crisis, resulting in the displacement of millions of people.

For many, the conflict appears like a religious war between the Sunnis and the Alawites, who are an offshoot of Shia Islam.

Almost all Sunni countries support Sunni-dominated rebels, while Shiite-led nations and groups such as Iran, Iraq, and Hizbollah support and aid the Allawite regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

External support has only intensified the conflict, resulting in more bloodshed and deaths of more civilians. Every side of the conflict argues that Allah or God is on their side.

The intensification of conflicts in the Muslim world has prompted many to ask a more fundamental question: Is Islam a religion of peace?

Critics of Islam may say there’s no point in asking such a question: just look at all the killings and suicide attacks Muslims carry out across the globe.

The answer is clear. Supporters of Islam may say it’s utterly offensive to blame an entire faith for the actions of a small group of Muslims?

Can we blame Christianity as a religion for the conflicts of the medieval ages or more recently the genocide in Rwanda?

To debate whether Islam is a religion of peace, Rudaw's Namo Abdulla talks to:

- Dr. Sayyid Syeed, Director of Interfaith & Community Alliances at Islamic Society of North America.
- Dr. David Wurmser, a Middle East expert who served as an advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

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