Islam May Need A Civil War

“The test of every religious or political system  is the man that it forms – Amial”

EditorialBy Gregory J. Welborn,  10/24/2014


Murder and terror in Ottawa brings close to the heart once again the reality that one of the world’s major religions begets such evil that a great war may yet be required to purify it and allow it to reclaim a mantle of moral credibility it once wore proudly.  This is not a war of the type we’re seeing now in the Middle East; this is not the war between ISIS and western powers, as necessary as that war is to saving thousands from slaughter, torture and suppression.  No, the killings in Ottawa, the earlier beheadings of innocents, the brutal subjugation of women and the torture of children may compel us to defend ourselves, but such acts should also demonstrate that simply driving them from our shores, or from the borders of any particular Middle East country, will not eliminate the evil which has taken root at the core of Islam.  As painful as it is to realize, the war which must be fought is a civil war within Islam itself between the powers of good and evil vying for dominance.


We have always been reminded, and no doubt will hear again, that Islam is a peaceful religion.  That may be true, but it is only true insofar as it applies to a classical strain of Islam which existed in history, and may well exist in some quarters today.  But it is false insofar as it does not explain the totality of Islam; insofar as it fails to explain the great numbers of Muslims (upwards of 20%) who believe terror and violence against the infidels are justified, not to mention the smaller – but more potent – numbers of Muslims who willingly commit these heinous and cowardly acts.

So if classical Islam spawned a great culture, established a body of law which condemns terrorism and suicide, restricts jihad to the retaking of one’s own property, prohibits the slaughter of non-combatants, and tolerates other religions in its midst, we can celebrate such fine religious principles, but we must still ask ourselves where is this form of the religion and what actions are its adherents taking in the world today? 

We can fairly ask that because world events, as briefly listed above, seem to demonstrate another version of that religion – another darker, evil vision of fealty to Allah – is dominant and active.  This is the Islam which dismisses the tenants of its classical roots, condemns Jews as “pigs”, “dogs”, and “unworthy to draw breath”, acts to kill and maim those same Jews, and tortures, murders and beheads vast categories of unbelievers.  This is the Islam which produces Muslims who lead or join Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban, and who troll the streets of Ottawa.

Pretending that the vile, evil side is small and confined to a few isolated patches of real estate is self-deluding.  20% of a one billion people is still 200 million adherents or supporters of an evil philosophy.  They cannot readily be contained to some small area – not in the 21st century of social media and easy international travel. Polling in Muslim countries has continuously affirmed the existence of this worrisome population, the most recent of which shows 60% of Jordanians do not view ISIS as a terrorist group.  Remember, the Jordanians are supposed to be the moderate ones.

With the events in Ottawa, we may once again be prompted to find our nerve and the commitment to confront ISIS in some meaningful way, but as of today, the numbers of bombing sorties we currently fly against ISIS are but rounding errors compared to the numbers we flew against Saddam’s forces when we really meant to “degrade and destroy.”  But removing ISIS will not solve the larger problem – the problem presented by the existence of, and credibility accorded to, the underlying evil philosophy that grips Islam.  An honest assessment of the situation today inevitably draws comparisons to Christianity’s struggle with good and evil.

Centuries ago Christianity was intolerant, repressive and in most places thoroughly corrupted.  In essence, it took a long and protracted civil war to restore Christianity’s original moral vision. The birth of Protestantism started this battle, leading to the Thirty-Years’ war.  The American Revolution continued it, establishing freedom of religion.  The battle was ultimately successfully concluded through the abolitionist movement and our American civil war, which finally eliminated slavery as an acceptable Christian practice.  Thankfully, because brave believers were willing to fight the good fight, intolerance and repression in the name of God are no longer accepted by faithful Christians.

So it appears that Islam must fight its own internal civil war if it is to resume its role as a moral religion. Homeland Security and our military may be able to protect us from Islam’s dark side, but to rid the world of it – which is to protect Christian, Jews and Muslims themselves – Islam will have to do the heavy lifting.  Islam must fix itself.

We can hope and pray that only a few lives will be lost.  But if we truly love our Muslim brothers, we must refrain from that very human tendency to simply pray for peace.  Peace, at the price of subjugation, torture and fear, is not a noble or moral outcome to wish upon that cohort of a billion people who claim to worship Allah.  The conflict between good and evil, which will define what allegiance to Allah really means, must be fought within Islam.  Islam must be purged of the hate which seeks to consume it.  I don’t know where it will start; I would have hoped it would have begun by now, but this battle will have to be waged across the globe by Muslims of all nationalities.  Only then will Islam be able to reclaim the mantle of moral credibility.


About the author:  Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious organizations on cultural and moral issues.  He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 3 children and is active in the community.  He can be reached [email protected]/


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