Religion is defined as “belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine.” Politics however can be defined as “the use of strategy or intrigue in obtaining power, control or status.” Religion is between a follower and their god. Politics is between men.
Once Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina, his message evolved from primarily a religious one to a political and militaristic one. In the first 13 years of Islam (the Mecca period) Islam averaged 11 to 12 converts per year, however in the Medina period Islam averaged around 10,000 new Muslims per year. Dr. Bill Warner from PoliticalIslam.com estimates based on the number of followers during the Mecca period as opposed to the Medina period of Muhammad’s life Islam’s success as a religion during Muhammad’s lifetime was about 0.3%, but its success as a political system was 99.7%. If Islam had remained only a religion, it would not exist today.
To illustrate the difference between religious Islam and political Islam, think of one of the multiple events where westerners have “outraged” the Muslim world. One of the more famous events would be the Muhammad cartoons published in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten in 2005. Four months after the cartoons were published, protests and riots broke out around the world eventually resulting in at least 200 deaths. The religious side of Islam teaches that a Muslim must respect Muhammad by not drawing a likeness of him. However, when Muslims pressure, threaten and hurt non-Muslims for not respecting Muhammad it is political Islam.
The difference between the religion of Islam and the politics of Islam is found in its treatment of the “kafirs.” Kafir is translated from the Arabic as “unbeliever,” however the translation does not accurately confer the meaning. Kafir refers to “people who reject Allah or deny or hide the truth revealed by Him. One who knowing what is true, decides to forget the evidence decides to sidetrack, deceive himself.” Kafir refers to all non-Muslims – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, pagans, atheists, etc., and political Islam seeks to control non-Muslims.
There are some positive verses in the Qur’an about the kafirs such as Sura 109:6 “you to your religion and me to my religion,” but the overwhelming majority of verses (around 97%) about kafirs are quite negative. According to Islam kafirs are ignorant (Sura 6:111), disgraced (Sura 37:18), cursed (Sura 33:60-61), can be killed (Sura 4:91), raped (Ishaq 759), stolen from (Bukhari 5, 59, 537), crucified (Sura 5:33), made war on (Sura 9:29) and annihilated (Sura 6:45).
64% of the Qur’an, 81% of the Sira, and 32% of the Hadith is about the kafir. Overall 60% of the Islamic texts deal with the kafir, which means the majority of Islam is political rather than religious.
In March of 2007, a group called the Secular Islam Summit released The St. Petersburg Declaration. The Declaration states in part, “…We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam…We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;”
Pray more Muslims will begin to encourage an examination of their sacred texts.
Pray that western Christians will wake up to the realization that they are not infringing upon a Muslim’s religious rights when they question the aggression of the politics of Islam in western society.
Pray that Christians will learn to effectively communicate that they are not against the people of Islam, but they are against a political system that violates Christian ideas, laws and western constitutions.