Islam means ‘peace’, or else…
No, it won’t.
It will take more than a few posters on a few buses and trains to allow ‘the true face of Islam’ to reveal itself from beneath its burkha. And even then, those who gaze upon the visage might find the creature to be somewhat more than two-faced. In truth, Islam is a many-headed hydra: of course there are many who want peace and wish to live in peace; equally so are there many who consider themselves to be at war with everything the West stands for.
The Times has an appallingly naïve post on this development, and highlights the ‘Islam Is Peace’ website, which selectively quotes from the Qur’an in order to make its utterly simplistic points. The target appears to be schoolchildren (of both The Times piece and the website), yet any GCSE student with critical faculties would be able to discern the bias. According to both, ‘the word Islam means peace in Arabic’, but it doesn’t only mean peace, it ‘of course’ means peace. And if you want ‘a more jaundiced view’, The Times helpfully refers you to an evil American site of ‘hatred’ which dares to suggest that Islam means ‘submission’. An appalling suggestion; an outrageous assertion; how dare these hateful Americans pervert the true meaning of the most beautiful word in the world.
Why is The Times peddling this socio-theological candy? Why is Libby Purves propagating this religio-political claptrap?
The word 'Islam' does most definitely mean 'submission' - insofar as any equivalent translation may be rendered of any Semitic language - and the assertion would not be remotely controversial to any literate Muslim. By choosing to associate this etymological fact with ‘hatred’, The Times is not only propagating ignorance; it is stoking ‘Islamophobia’, and undermining the foundations of rational and reasonable debate. That ‘peace’ is the intended consequence of this ‘submission’ is doubtless true, but the submission to Allah is the prerequisite - theologically, spiritually, socially and politically – and it is linguistic and etymological ignorance to assert otherwise.