I wouldn’t want anyone to come under the impression that Islam is inherently a religion of violence, or that violence is limited to Islam. I have noticed that most world religions typically go through phases. Two of those phases tend to be difficult ones.
The first of these difficult phases is usually the phase of rejection/persecution – at the commencement of any movement, the rest of the populace derides, maligns and kills the early adherents. Christianity faced that phase in the days of the Roman Empire, until Emperor Constantine adopted the Christian movement, and ushered it into a period of respect and dominance. Judaism experienced the same phase in the days of Moses in Egypt.
The second most difficult period, is that of revivalism. This period usually comes when a religion has passed its zenith, but seeks to bring back lost glory. As usual, there will be people who see this period from a violent perspective. They would want to return the authority of God as they know it, by all means necessary. Christianity faced this period during the dark ages when the Church tried to suppress certain ideas; these ideas were at variance with Biblical accounts. Perhaps the most celebrated case is that of the astronomer, Galileo Galileio. Galileo was imprisoned because he deduced that the earth was round, instead of flat – as proclaimed by the church.
Judaism faced that period of revivalism, at the period Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion.
Christianity and Judaism, being older than Islam, have been faced with their demons for longer. Christianity and Judaism have reached a period I would like to refer to as post-revival acquiescence; that is acceptance of the fact (after having tried violent domination) that there will never be any one dominant religion. Unfortunately, a number of Muslims still feel the only way out for this world is through the Islamic way of life. They are therefore ready to enforce, or sympathise with those who enforce that idea. Hopefully, we will get to that point of post-revival acquiescence for Islam.
But having read the evolution of these three Abrahamic religions deeply (including even the Hindu, and its derivative Sikh religions), I wouldn’t exactly label Islam as an inherently violent religion in exclusivity. I prefer to see it as an otherwise normal movement undergoing a violent phase, coloured by the global politics of the day …
Dr. Obinna Aligwekwe is a Medical Practitioner, based in the United Kingdom and you can find him on Facebook