A UKIP lord is writing a new guide to Islam, which he hopes will start a much-needed conversation about the religion and ideology, and help challenge commonly held misconceptions about it. To the anger of the liberal establishment, he has repeated his previously stated view that Islam is “not a religion of peace.”
Lord Pearson is preparing to launch an initiative called Shall We Talk About Islam and publish a book in October, which he is writing with the help of four Koranic scholars. He said a public conversation is needed, because “you may have noticed, we are not allowed to talk about it.” Those that do are “branded Islamophobic racists or accused of stirring up religious hatred,” he told The Times.
In regards to the much-repeated platitude that Islam is a “religion of peace,” Lord Pearson reiterated a view he expressed last year, when he said: “We have to stop saying that . . . because it clearly isn’t.”
His work will explore two elements of the Koran: “One is the abrogation . . . the Muslim tenet that where there is a contradiction in the Koran, it is the later verses that cancel out the earlier ones. This is worrying because as [Muhammad] went through life and went to Medina, he became more violent,” he said. The other being al-Hijra. “After [Muhammad] moved to Medina, and had been there five years, he said you must either convert or exile or I’ll kill you,” he added.
Pearson described the discrepancy in this country, where Christianity is heavily scrutinized, held to account, open to challenge, derision and satire, but Islam is often appeased and protected. Adding: “There is already an initiative running called ‘Can we talk about Islam’, which is aimed at Christian congregations. That’s trying to encourage Christians to talk more with Muslims.”
Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said the comments were inappropriate. He said:
“It’s very difficult for people to take this guy seriously when he makes such bizarre claims. The prophet always made the point to be at peace with people and he didn’t convert anybody by force. These statements are absolutely incorrect.”