"...whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men;" Surah 5:32
The above quote from the Qur'an is often used by Muslims to illustrate the peaceful nature of Islam. The message appears, at first glance, to be one of sanctity and compassion. The only exception for taking a life is that of a murderer, or that of one who spreads "mischief".
The very next verse, Surah 5:33, goes on to describe the punishment for those who make mischief: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement..."
So, who, exactly, are the mischief makers? The Qur'an answers this question as well: "(As for) those who disbelieve and turn away from Allah's way, We will add chastisement to their chastisement because they made mischief." (Surah 16:88)
Also labeled "mischief makers" are Jews. Surah 5:64 states, "And the Jews say: 'The hand of Allah is tied up!' Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are spread out, He expends as He pleases; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord will certainly make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; and We have put enmity and hatred among them till the day of resurrection; whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land; and Allah does not love the mischief-makers."
Verses 8:59 & 60 further describes disbelievers as enemies of Allah and all Muslims: "And let not those who disbelieve think that they shall come in first; surely they will not escape. And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allah's way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly."
Knowledge is power. The next time a Muslim or dhimmi quotes verse 5:32 as evidence Islam is a religion of peace, you now have the power to confront and refute their deception.