In response to a number of comments…
While I think that Islam as a whole has a responsibility to reduce some Muslim tendencies to violence and oppression I don’t think all Muslims can be held responsible for the violence perpetrated by a small minority of radical Muslims.
Just as I don’t think all Christians around the world should be held responsible for the violence of some. And there are many examples of Christians being involved in violent acts, with Hitler and the German Nazis and Mussolini and the Italian Fascists being significant examples.
More recent examples that come to mind are the large scale Rwanda (0.5m-1m deaths) and the ex-Yugoslav states in the 1990s, both involving atrocities on a massive scale.
And more recently (from Christian terrorism):
Central African Republic
Christian militia groups destroyed almost all mosques in the Central African Republic unrest. In 2014, Amnesty International reported several massacres committed by the Anti-balaka against Muslim civilians, forcing thousands of Muslims to flee the country. Other sources report incidents of Muslims being cannibalized.
In May 2014, it was reported that around 600,000 people in CAR were internally displaced with 160,000 of these in the capital Bangui. The Muslim population of Bangui had dropped from 138,000 to 900.
India – Tripura
The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), is a rebel group that seeks the secession of Tripura, North-East India, and is a proscribed terrorist organization in India. Group activities have been described as Christian terrorists engaging in terrorist violence motivated by their Christian beliefs.
Over 20 Hindus in Tripura were reported to have been killed by the NLFT from 1999 to 2001 for resisting forced conversion to Christianity. According to Hindus in the area, there have also been forced conversions of tribal villagers to Christianity by armed NLFT militants. These forcible conversions, sometimes including the use of “rape as a means of intimidation”, have also been noted by academics outside of India.
The Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla army, was engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government in 2005. It has been accused of using child soldiers and of committing numerous crimes against humanity; including massacres, abductions, mutilation, torture, rape, and using forced child labourers as soldiers, porters, and sex slaves. A quasi-religious movement that mixes some aspects of Christian beliefs with its own brand of spiritualism, it is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the “Holy Spirit” which the Acholi believe can represent itself in many manifestations. LRA fighters wear rosary beads and recite passages from the Bible before battle.
In 2011, analyst Daryl Johnson of the United States Department of Homeland Security said that the Hutaree Christian militia movement possessed more weapons than the combined weapons holdings of all Islamic terror defendants charged in the US since the September 11 attacks.
In 2015, Robert Doggart, a 63 year old mechanical engineer, was indicted for solicitation to commit a civil rights violation by intending to damage or destroy religious property after communicating that he intended to amass weapons to attack a Muslim enclave in Delaware County, New York.
In November 2015, Robert Lewis Dear killed three and injured nine at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dear voiced on several occasions his support for radical Christian views and interpretations of the Bible, and praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing “God’s work.” He also described members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion Christian extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings, as heroes.
Christian Identity is a loosely affiliated global group of churches and individuals devoted to a racialized theology which asserts that North Europeanwhites are the direct descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, God’s chosen people. It has been associated with groups such as the Aryan Nations,Aryan Republican Army, Army of God, Phineas Priesthood, and The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord. It has been cited as an influence on a number of terrorist attacks around the world, including the 2002 Soweto bombings.
These groups are estimated to have 2,000 members in the United States, and an unknown number in Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth. Due to the promotion of Christian Identity doctrines through radio and later the Internet, an additional 50,000 unaffiliated individuals are thought to hold Christian Identity beliefs. The primary spread of Christian Identity teachings is believed to be through white supremacist prison gangs.
Others have also mentioned the actions of countries like the USA (in Iraq, Vietnam) and Russia (for example in the Ukraine, Georgia and Chechnya) which have all involved many deaths.
I don’t hold billions of Christians responsible for the violence perpetrated by a few, and neither do I hold all Muslims responsible for the violence of a few.
Just as I don’t hold all men responsible for violence and sexual violence, nor do i hold all feminists responsible for the extreme views and accusations of a small minority.
Blaming and ostracising large numbers of people because of the actions by small minorities is not only wrong and unfair but it is more likely to provoke violence than reduce it.
I condemn all individual, group and state acts of violence no matter what race, religion or nationality is involved.
I think that religion has long been used as a false justification of violence that is contrary to religious and humanitarian principles.
It’s minorities that abuse religion that is the problem. That should be isolated from the larger peaceful demographics – believe that most people in the world prefer and support peace and non-violence, and that should be encouraged and highlighted more.
Condemning majorities for the actions of small minorities is more likely to provoke and perpetuate violence rather than reduce it.
Small terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS play on the prejudices and fears of people to drive division and animosity between larger groups to try to achieve their aims of wider religious conflict.
Don’t do what they want.