ISLAM IS PEACE.
The low wall along the garbage-strewn street proclaimed it boldly, if somewhat crudely, in spray paint. Arabic above and English beneath. The translation, breaching linguistic barriers, left cultural walls standing firm.
The soldier nearest our interpreter turned slightly toward her. “If Islam is peace, why are the same people who write that killing innocent people?”
Her laugh was scornful. “When Muslims say ‘Islam is Peace,’ you think we mean what we do not. When Muslim people hear your president say, ‘Islam is a peaceful religion,’ we laugh at you. Muslim people think you are weak. They laugh at your president.
“We say, ‘Islam is peace.’ You think that means, ‘Islam is a peaceful religion.’ Islam is not a peaceful religion. Islam is never a peaceful religion. When Muslim people say, ‘Islam is peace,’ what they say is when you are all killed, when in the world everywhere every person is killed or made to be Muslim, then there will be peace. Islam will bring peace by killing. That is what those words mean.”