Peace Be Upon Who?

Peace Be upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence

Written by Zachary Karabell, this book traces the history of supposed tolerance between the three mentioned religions. What took me a while to understand, and what shocked me, was the definition of “peace” for Muslims. Essentially it is the dominance of their people and their sharia law over all other people, as well as the absolute submission of those people under their rule. This, in the eyes of Islam, is true peace.

Karabell recalls a very vivid instance of a young man named Isaac who live under Muslim rule. Isaac was a Christian who was forced to practice his faith only privately, as was the peaceful tolerance of Islam. Convicted that he could hide his faith no longer and be true to his God, Isaac challenged the local mosque leader, calling Muhammad false and Allah not the true God.

Karabell relates how this was essentially suicide on Isaac’s part (the chapter is called “Isaac’s Sacrifice”) because he knew such a statement would get him killed. And so he was for such an insult. Further, Isaac was branded an upstart rioter who would overthrow the peace Islam had brought. If he only would have remained silent about his faith and subservient to lower class status, the “peace” would have endured. However, others feeling a sense of zeal also proclaimed Christ openly and were subsequently slaughtered as well. Karabell notes that other, more thoughtful and reasonable Christians, did not follow Isaac’s would-be rebellion.

And thus Islam brought peace to societies of “diverse” faiths. For Islam, peace comes through physical dominance and forced eradication of alternate ideas. Peace be upon you.


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