Friday, December 18, 2015

Origin of "the religion of peace"

Mark Durie

We're so often reassured by various experts on Islam - you know, people like George W. Bush back in the day - that Islam is a peaceful religion, and we hear this so often because it so often needs to be said because we so often see Islam implicated in violence, leaving us in doubt about its peaceableness, so we need the reminder day after day or else the counter-evidence might seem too strong, but having heard the phrase so often, necessarily so often, one might wonder where the phrase "the religion of peace" originated.

Well, wonder no more, for Mark Durie knows and tells in his article "Anyone Using The Phrase 'Islam Is A Religion Of Peace' Needs To Read This" (Independent Journal, December 17, 2015), so let's read:
One may well ask how 'the religion of peace' became a brand of Islam, for the phrase cannot be found in the Qur'an, nor in the teachings of Muhammad.

Islam was first called 'the religion of peace' as late as 1930, in the title of a book published in India by Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi. The phrase was slow to take off, but by the 1970s it was appearing more and more frequently in the writings of Muslims for western audiences.
Interesting. For more on this, go to the linked article, which explains that the word "Islam" is more semantically connected to the term for "safety" than the one for "peace." But that meaning turns out less reassuring than one might hope for . . .



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