Is Islam really peaceful?
Yes, the majority of it.
It's supposed to be. It would appear that since the crusades the drift has been for Islam to represent peace, but it still has its militant factions, just as Christianity and, to an extent, Judaism have.
It seems the longer the religion has been around, the more peaceful it tends to be. Since Islam is relatively new compared to Christianity and Judaism, it isn't a surpise that it is has yet to shed off its extremist factions from the bulk of the religion.
Other religions, however, such as Falun Dafa, have been around for a short time and are *not* violent. In general, most Asian religions are this way, which shows that religious leaders need not always advocate "holy wars" to accomplish their goals. Another interesting thing to note is that Eastern religions don't generally use written tomes to preach from, which may explain why they are this way.
Sadly, I'm afraid that Surah 9:29 *is* the reality of Islam being used to recruit future suicidal terrorists. In much the same way, the Old Testament has many scriptures in which God looks down approvingly on the slaughter of Israel's enemies, although the New Testament, where Christianity gets its basis, has little in the way of justifying "holy war".
It is quite ironic how Judaism following the fall of the Roman Empire turned into a pacifying religion, while Christianity turned into an agressive one. Even today, large numbers of fundamentalist Christians advocate requiring schools and government institutions to post the 10 commandments. How ironic that some of these same fundamentalists either own businesses that are open on Sundays, or work in a business on Sundays.
I'm a Christian, but I think it should be made clear that while one says they adhere to a religion, it means they follow the principals *of* said religion. There is no Christian requirement to obey the Bible (indeed the Bible as we know it is clearly *not* God's word, only a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation), the only requirement is that one repent for their sins (the 10 commandments broken, of which all have done) and realize that only because of the death of one man (this Arab named "Jesus") are they cleansed from all unrighteousness.
IMHO, that is a pretty loose requirement. I'm curious as to the "requirements" to get into heaven under Islam. I'd expect that they are quite simlar, and do not require the deaths of religious enemies. The scriptures in the Quaran are taken loosely just as many Christians take scriptures in the Bible loosely. As far as I can tell, the New Testament is a rejection of the Old, and is what essentially seperates Judaism from Christianity.
Note: There is a tendency for agnostics and atheists to vote stories like this one and posts like mine down. I would appreciate it if in addition to the rate (or vote) down you would post a response indicating why. I'm curious as to why even speaking of religion is offending. I've asked my agnostic and atheist friends and most of them are willing to talk to Christians and debate on friendly terms. For some reason I think a medium such as the Internet advocates harsh attitudes between religious and non-religious. Even more so than any other issue I know of. I can't for the life of me understand why.