The Difference Between Peace and Truce in the West and Middle East

Understanding the Threat pic
Understanding the Threat

A retired US Marine Corps officer and counterterrorism specialist, John Guandolo maintains responsibilities as founder of Also a prolific author of numerous texts on national security matters, John Guandolo penned an article entitled “What Hamas Means by ‘Peace’ and ‘Truce’.”

Between many languages, there is a difference of translation that often hinders us from understanding words in the same way that foreigners do. This discrepancy in interpretation is what Guandolo explored in his 2012 article on the Islamic meanings of “peace” and “truce.”

In the Western translation of these words, peace connotes either an agreement to cease war or an absence of war altogether. Often times, parties will agree to end fighting with a truce, but these must always arise through a mutual decision. These definitions differ from the Islamic interpretation, which holds its roots in Islamic law, also known as sharia. These principles split the world into dar al Islam (“house of peace”) and dar al harb (“house of war”). According to Islamic Law, true peace can only arise when the dar al harb (individuals not living under the influence of Islamic law) is eradicated, most often through jihad.

Also different from the Western interpretation is the Islamic meaning of “truce,” which involves a brief period of reprieve from fighting between those who practice Islam and those who are opposed to it. Often, these truces hold additional motives such as biding more time for Islamic forces to regain strength or anticipating that the opposed party will convert to Islam.


Author: John Guandolo

John Guandolo, a counterterrorism consultant at Strategic Engagement Group, Inc., also contributes his time to the Centennial Institute as a Strategic Threats Consultant. The institute, part of Colorado Christian University, works to promote the public understanding of freedom, family, and faith issues. This is accomplished through research, policy analysis, and seminars and conferences with students, staff, faculty, and outside experts such as John Guandolo. He also co-authored Shariah: The Threat To America: An Exercise In Competitive Analysis (Report of Team B II). As Vice President of Strategic Planning and Execution at Strategic Engagement Group, John Guandolo assists law enforcement, government, military, and intelligent community leaders on how to prepare for and respond to terrorist threats. Prior to accepting a position with Strategic Engagement Group, he served the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Subject Matter Expert. During his time in this role, he developed the agency's first training course on the threat of Muslim extremism and issues posed by the rise of Islamic law. John Guandolo joined the agency as a Special Agent, where he led SWAT team operations, participated in investigations, and served as an Advanced Capability Medic. His accolades include two Awards for Investigative Excellence, given by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and the Defender of the Homeland Award, given by United States Senators John Kyl and Joe Lieberman. John Guandolo graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1989 and was a Company Commander during his senior year. He is a member of the Force Recon Association, a non-profit fraternal organization that promotes the fellowship of those who have served in military reconnaissance units. John Guandolo also holds membership in the Knights of Columbus, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and the Order of St. Crispin. He enjoys hiking, competing in triathlons, and camping.

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