There will never be peace with our Muslim Filipinos. Let us not delude ourselves that Islam is a religion of peace. A Jihad in the suras taken from the Verse of the Sword of the Quran has been established during the time of Muhammad and this persists to this day.
To the uninitiated the Quran seems to be a book of contradictions but Quranic scholars explain that the interpretation of the suras should take into account the principle of abrogation which is the voiding of early suras by most recent ones. The earlier suras (revelations of Allah through Muhammad) exhort its members to live a peaceful, compassionate, and Christian-like life while suras that came later were instructions on spreading the faith through belligerence and barbaric means.
The author Hilaire Belloc in his book The Great Heresies, an account of the heresies that besieged the Catholic Church in its early days wrote that Islam, at its beginnings took much from the scriptures of the Bible thus making it very similar to the Catholic faith in its basic tenets. The foundation of Muhammad’s early teachings such as one omnipotent God whose nature was that of a benevolent, all powerful and timeless provider were taken from the Christian notion of the divine. The idea of evil arising from the rebellion of evil spirits (angels led by Satan) was inspired by the Bible’s account of it. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul, free will (responsibility to one’s actions) and the divine retribution (punishment in the hereafter) much like the ones found in the Catholic doctrines were incorporated into the early Islamic suras, albeit, a corruption, a simple adoption of some tenets without the man made accretions and minus sacramental items of faith.
At the time of its inception Islam was correctly perceived as a religion of peace. Changing fortunes of Islam caused it to adapt to a more appropriate religious stance, that of a powerful, aggressive and belligerent religion. The changes towards the New Islam seem to have been dictated by the power status of the religion. Islamic scholars talk of Meccan days, the simple beginnings, seemingly without strength, benign and peaceful and the Medinan days, a time of increasing followers, strength and self confidence that transformed Islam into an aggressive, expansionary, militaristic and politically motivated religion. The characteristics of the Meccan suras, revealed at a time that Islam was vulnerable, were in most part benign; the later suras, the Medinan ones, were barbaric and bellicose, appropriate to its power status. The suras revealed later in Muhammad’s life, named Verse of the Sword, exhorted the faithful to use violence and barbaric scourging of the non-believers and fight them to their extinction or until they have submitted themselves to accept their subjugation and pay poll tax to their Islamic masters.
There are times in the Islamic calendar, coinciding with the passing of their sacred months, that they are instructed to kill the non-believers everywhere through siege and capture by carefully planned ambuscades.
Having superseded the earlier benign suras, the new ones abrogated the old suras, thus the new Islamic creed that is currently practiced is that of the Verse of the Sword, suras that advocate belligerency . The principle of abrogation is critical in Quranic interpretation. Later suras cancel and replace earlier ones whose instructions may be contradictory. The Quran’s commandments are very clear and that is to wage war in the name of Allah against those who deride and mock Islam, and those of any denomination, affiliation, association and political persuasion that are not necessarily opposed, but have different teachings from Islam. In this manner Islam has defined the conflict as one between Islam and all others.
The Muslim-non Muslim problem at this time, may be looked at as a zero sum game with both sides not willing to give up a single chip of their holdings. Each act of any of the sides may be considered as self defense since the consequence is annihilation. The question of who initiated the move to aggress the other is a difficult one. Even history and contemporary events have inadequate answers. To what extent did the Crusades exacerbate the animosity between Islam and Christianity? Is the natural acquisitiveness of man, of race and of nations to blame? What about the greed of capitalistic societies, the oil trade? The arms race? Territorial imperatives, the unlawful occupation of land? The stolidness of religious convictions? The avenging of old hurts? The perverse glee of the oppressor, and the anger of the oppressed and the disadvantaged? Perhaps not just one of these is to blame for the strife.
The Muslim Mindanao problem will not be settled by any pact or treaty. Islam is bent on subjugating the whole world. Its adherents have been commanded by a divine and immutable decree. The best that the non-Muslims can do is to stall the progress of this struggle but it will not stop until one or the other has been completely eliminated. Islam is not a religion of peace. They are in a war of attrition to achieve complete subjugation of all those outside their faith. Any notion of peace with Muslim Mindanao is just wishful thinking.