To listen and view the debate I'm discussing click here.
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My thoughts on Intelligence Squared's debate on the motion "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" This was the first debate where I actually changed my mind. My first thought was: "We can't judge a religion based on a few extremists" but those against the motion made a strong argument with "We should also judge a religion based on its founder". This does beg the question though, "Is Judaism a religion of peace due to all its founders history of wars?" and "What about Christianity?" Jesus and his disciples were certainly for peace but following leaders of the faith were not.
Could Islam be a religion of peace though if it is not thought of one now? People think of the other faiths as peaceful namely because there are not as many wanton acts of violence by its followers so what would it take to make Islam peaceful (or at least viewed as peaceful)? My solution: Secularize it. i.e. Make it (the majority view) moderate by giving a platform for the more non-fundamentalist scholars. Encourage the majority to make extremist views taboo and suicide as worthy of condemnation in hell rather than a means to martyrdom to glory.