Sunday November 29, 2015

Is Islam a religion of peace?

Men hold Koran holy book as they demonstrate outside the offices of the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) demanding that they stop fighting with the rebels on January 6, 2014 in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Men hold Koran holy book as they demonstrate outside the offices of the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) demanding that they stop fighting with the rebels on January 6, 2014 in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. (Credit: MOHAMMED WESAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Listen 17:57

Since the appearance on the world stage of the Islamic State - also known as ISIS - a debate has been raging. One side claims that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, while the other side argues that ISIS is an expression of a religion that is inherently violent - a "motherlode of bad ideas", to quote the best-selling author and philosopher Sam Harris. 

Michael talks to Mohammed Fadel about whether ISIS represents a perversion of Islam, and why conflict in the Middle East gives rise to such extremism. Mr. Fadel is an associate professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, with cross appointments to U of T's Departments of Religion, and of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. Professor Fadel is also Canada Research Chair for the Law and Economics of Islamic Law; he had a successful career as a lawyer in the United States, before turning his talents to academia. 

Text from Koran

Folio from a Koran, Abbasid dynasty, Near East or North Africa. Ink and color on parchment, 23.9 × 33.3 cm. Part of Al-Fath Sura (48) verses:27-8. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)