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Mehdi Hasan at Oxford Union: “Islam is a religion of peace”


A brilliant argument by Mehdi Hasan for the affirmative side of the debate on the motion: Islam, a religion of peace.

Update: The motion, “Islam is a peaceful religion” passed: 286 to 168.

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  • Ummer

    I never said violence was peaceful. The claim of violence doesn’t exist, no one is violated with Islam. That’s as bad as saying ‘the wife was violated on her wedding night by her husband’.
    Violence only happens in injustice when rights of others are denied. War is another thing altogether, where the ones violating are those who lie, fabricate, and break oaths of peace.

    No, your Orwellian defining statement includes the point of “ignorance is strength”. Ignorance of God is strength for the devil and his helpers. Though ignorance of the sinner (ie even turning the cheek) that’s strength for the believers. I find it strange that Orwell didn’t write “Ignorance is intelligence”. Remember, when you’re considering Orwell, just remember, you might actually be delving into doublethink yourself.

    And the qualification is already given, here have a look at the dictionary:,HW3=442,LL=4_136,LS=2,HA=345,SG=524,BR=475,PR=79,AAN=279,VI=196,MGF=439,UQW=798,UMR=519,UMS=440,UMJ=380,HW4_HIDE

  • Chameleon_X

    Your definition of violence does not change the fact that neither violence nor war are ever peaceful. This is a logically certain fact. It has nothing to do with whether Islamophobes use a phrase or not. It has everything to do with the fact that sometimes justice requires violence and war to achieve it. It is simply a logical fact that “Islam is a religion of peace” is not a categorically true statement without significant qualification or an Orwellian redefinition of peace.

  • Ummer

    Well that last bit of the post was the most important part.

    When you said “islam has violence” what you’re forgetting is that the meaning of violence is from violent, violate. It refers to going against an oath as per the etymology. But I already mentioned that there are no oaths between us with those who violate their oaths, that is what the Qur’an says.

    Quran 9:12 translation
    And if they break their oaths after
    their treaty and defame your religion, then fight the leaders
    of disbelief, for indeed, there are no oaths [sacred] to them;
    [fight them that] they might cease.

    Quran 66:2 translation
    God has already ordained for you the
    dissolution of your oaths. And God is your protector, and He is
    the Knowing, the Wise.

    You can scroll up for the etymology of violence.

    But the most ultimate point against your contention is that the word peace.

    You can practically interchange the word peace for islam.

    Islam is a religion of islam.

    If you want to say ‘oh but they just use these terms to denigrate and criticize islam’ … there are people out there that criticize islam because it tells them to worship God. Are you going to say ‘oh we should use the statements of “islam is a religion of believing in God” because critics of islam use such terms’ to prove that people shouldn’t use statements because someone else appropriated them and sneered at it?

    That’s as good as telling people “don’t be muslims”.

  • Chameleon_X

    You clearly missed my initial post, where I stated the following:

    “Islam can always be considered a “religion of peace” on a personal level. However, on a social level, I prefer the more accurate description of “religion for peace”.

    You are preaching to the proverbial choir on this point. The problem is not that Islam can’t always be considered a religion of peace on some important personal level. The problem is the unconditional and unqualified nature of this statement as an absolute description of Islam on all levels. In debates, the wording of a motion is critical. You are not entitled to fill in the missing parts or add qualifying conditions after the fact. On that note, I already proved that the motion is categorically false in any absolute or strict sense, since violence is never peaceful, and Islam sometimes does command violence when justice requires it (i.e., where the definition of “justice” is 100% compatible with Just War Theory). At best, one could say “Islam is a religion of peace, on average (or as the normative state of affairs).” But that, too, is yet another big qualification.

    As for the rest of your post, you really lost me there. I don’t think I need to waste my time rebutting ridiculous arguments like “war is peace” is true and “freedom is slavery” is true. There is a very good reason why the word “moron” is in the word “oxymoron”. I suggest you consider that.

    I must also add that, no, I am not paid to write by anyone. “Above my pay grade” is just an expression meaning something that is not my job to be accountable for. That is why I said “so to speak”, to emphasize that it is an idiom.

  • Ummer

    “…someone above my pay grade…”

    You being paid to write?

    “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

    First and second are true, the last one is rat poison.

    We fight against satan and the anti-christ to make peace with God, we enslave ourselves to God to be free from everything else.

    But ignorance is pagan quality. In fact the word pagan originates from the Roman military jargon meaning bumpkin, illiterate.

    And one thing you keep missing out or unable to read is the point about God.

    So when you say that it should be “for” not “of”, you’re making religion a very small thing. Also when you say “for” as opposed to “of”, you’re putting it in a time variable. And when you put it in a time variable, all the points that makes islam, religion for peace, you end up saying some are not currently for peace and others are. But the primary point that makes islam a religion of peace, is that of the point of God. The peace is always there, the peace to God.

    Another point is that peace is one of God’s name. When you say religion for peace, or religion for God, that’s like saying you’re giving it to God, when God doesn’t need anything. The religion is for you, so that you make peace with God so that God gives you peace in your heart.

    And then there’s the other part, the religion is called islam which is the active form of peace. So it actually is, religion of peace/islam.

    You agreeing with CH even once, is like agreeing with the devil once. That is not a fallacy, he literally was a demon. The blood of the Iraqis is on his hands.

  • Ummer

    War is peace. When it’s against the devil.

    But when Orwellian use it, they mean to say “war against us is not peace, our wars against God is peace”.

    No the motion doesn’t include the idea of “positive peace” it’s just peace as in general peace. And no, justice neither override nor does it stop peace. Justice is under the heading of peace. Those who don’t want peace, don’t care for justice either. They are not under the heading of peace, but under the heading of injustice. Their injustice is that they do not recognize God as the master. But when you fight them, that is peaceful, because you are upholding the peace.

    “I would agree with Christopher Hitchens” – you would be agreeing with a demon.

    Islam is the religion of peace. Though when critics started using the term sarcastically, they did the same thing before the prophet himself.

    Your only contention that the wording is Orwellian, what you are forgetting is that God literally is the one who can see and hear everything you do and is the rightful big brother, as opposed to the Orwellian big brother trying to play God. No you were stating that “orwellian ideas are not nice”, but you were forgetting that orwellian ideas were literally trying to play God with the lives of men. Only God has that right.

  • Ummer

    New since the 18th century…

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    You’re throwing around a lot of red herrings and assumptions about things I have never said, as is your want. You’ve also not dealt with the fact that peace does not entail pacifism, as you seem to think it does.

    At least you’re on record stating that it is an indefensible motion and therefore agree with the opposition that Islam is not a religion of peace.

    Apparently no Muslim or Islamophile should ever take up the challenge of this motion ever again because it is “indefensible” despite the victory at Oxford which quite literally showed that it very defensible.

    The fact that this term has become cliched in pop-culture, a point I’ve actually made before, is a separate issue than whether or not it is defensible.

  • Tanveer Khan

    I think someone has been downvoting all our comments.

  • SarahAB

    Great – my hypothesis is borne out! I’m interested to know on what basis my comment was downvoted. By people who think I’m too soft on Mehdi Hasan (possibly) or (I suppose more likely) by people who don’t think it is reasonable for atheists to dislike being treated as a monolithic group. Although there is no street movement dedicated to protesting against atheism (as the EDL) in the US atheists are viewed with more distrust than Muslims

    Happily some religious people, such as Qasim Rashid, are happy to acknowledge that atheists can be allies.

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