Objective realities do mark Islam as different from other religions. Among the five major world faiths, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, Islam is unique in its doctrine of jihad, stated clearly in this hadith, attributed to Mohammed: “I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me.” This hadith is echoed by over a hundred jihad verses in the Koran, a book that is a fraction of the size of the Bible.
Jihad is established not only in Islamic texts. It is exemplified by action. Mohammed ordered at least forty-three assassinations and participated in at least one hundred militarized expeditions. Mohammed is the “perfect example worthy of emulation.”
Islam spread by war, warfare that began in Mohammed’s lifetime, and that has continued in the Muslim world, without significant relief, for 1,400 years. Mohammed died in 632. Muslims reached the Indian Subcontinent by 664 and Spain by 711. Islam’s expansion was stopped only at the Battle of Vienna, September 12, 1683.