Do Muslims living in our land want to see an Islamic America, with prominent mosques dotting the landscape of every major city, with Islamic laws instituted throughout the nation, with the name of Muhammad revered throughout society, with the Koran memorized by children, with American men stopping five times daily to pray to Allah, with American women dressing modestly, with Islamic dietary practices strictly followed and the whole nation fasting during the daylight hours of Ramadan?
Of course they do, unless they are more nominal, secular Muslims. Those who are deeply devoted to their faith certainly want to convert us to Islam and bring us into submission to Allah. You might say, “So what’s the big deal? Islam, like Christianity, is a missionary religion, and both want to spread their faith around the world. Don’t devoted Christians have similar ambitions?”
Yes and no. On the one hand, conservative Christians and Muslims both believe they have the true revelation of God for the world, the former in the Bible, the latter in the Koran. They both believe that their way is the best way, and they both believe in proselytizing.
On the other hand, Islam is a law-based religion (similar to Judaism, except that Judaism is not devoted to converting the world), and “Islam” actually means “submission,” specifically, submission to Allah and his law. And so for Muslims, this is not simply a matter of converting people to a faith but also of bringing the society under Islamic rule.
That’s why it’s easy to name countries that are Muslim, like Iran or Saudi Arabia, in which the citizens are required to live by Islamic law, whereas there’s not a country on the planet that is “Christian” in a parallel sense.
As explained by JihadWatch.org, “There is no separation between the religious and the political in Islam; rather Islam and Sharia [law] constitute a comprehensive means of ordering society at every level.”
In keeping with this, “Islamic scholarship divides the world into dar al-Islam (the House of Islam, i.e., those nations who have submitted to Allah) and dar al-harb (the House of War, i.e., those who have not). . . . Then as now, Islam’s message to the unbelieving world is the same: submit or be conquered” (ibid.).
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.