WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2016 — What has transformed Islam, a 1,400-year-old religion that has often spread a message of peace and nonviolence, into an inspiration for brutality? Islam’s history spans 1,400 years. Starting with the prophet Mohammad, its history was one of enlightenment, forbidding the oppression or mistreatment of minorities. People of different faiths were allowed to live and follow their own religions. Christians served as the close counselors and advisers to Islamic rulers, and when the Jews were expelled from Christian Spain, they found refuge in the Islamic world. Today, there are no Islamic countries in the world. What we see in the Middle East has nothing to do with Islam. Because most people there are Muslim, their corrupt leaders use Islamic identity to enforce their own agenda.