Harris to Zakaria: 'Islam Has Been Spread by the Sword for Over 1,000 Years'

Harris to Zakaria: 'Islam Has Been Spread by the Sword for Over 1,000 Years'

Sunday morning on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Zakaria hosted author Sam Harris for a follow-up discussion about Harris’ appearance last month on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” where Harris had said that “Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas.”

“Clearly Islam has a problem today,” Zakaria said. “But there have been periods when Islam was at the vanguard of modernity. You know, it was the place that preserved Aristotle and preserved science. So if it was Islam that was the problem, how come it was OK then? In other words, that would suggest that it is the social and political conditions within Muslim societies or, you know, the people, in other words, clearly Islam has been compatible with peace and progress and it is compatible with violence I would argue just like all religions.”

“Yes, well, up to a point,” Harris responded. “I would say that specific ideas have specific consequences, and the idea of jihad is not a new one. It’s not an invention of the 20th century. Many people are now spreading a very PC and sanitized history of religious conflict.”

“Islam has been spread by the sword for over 1,000 years,” Harris continued. “There’s been an intensification for obvious political reasons of intolerance in the 20th century, but the idea that life for Christians and Jews as Dhimmi under Muslim rulers for 1,000 years was good doesn’t make any sense…”

“I’ll tell you who’s making it harder for them (secular Muslims),” Harris said later. “Liberals who deny the problem. I’m telling you the only metric I have for that is I hear from people living in Pakistan, for instance, who say ‘If a liberal like you can’t even speak honestly about the link between ideology and violence, what hope is there for me? I can’t even tell my mother what I believe about God because I would be afraid of my own family or village killing me.’”

(h/t RCP Video)

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