I read in Karen Armstrong’s book “Holy War :The Crusades and their impact on Today’s world” that when Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, the Canaanites(including the women and children) were massacred with God’s permission(Exodus 23 :23,33 … Deuteronomy 7: 1-6) … What does the Qur’an say of this?(I am afraid I am not much well -versed in it).
There is no mention of the Canaanites in the Qur’an. However, an interesting point that needs to be considered is that the Law of God ordinances that His prophets, if they gain political and military power, are to punish the disbelievers for their rejection of God’s religion. The prophet Joshua (pbuh) was not the only person that was given this authority, so was Moses (pbuh). One has to keep in mind that much like the punishments of God via natural disasters the prophets of God were utilized in the same way; instead of brimstone it was the sword. Think of the punishments meted out on the Egyptians when they did not heed Moses’ call. The concept is quite the same; each and every community that received a prophet or messenger received a message regarding God’s religion. If they did not accept they were then warned and given a period of time to submit. All this of course goes with bringing the Truth in the clearest light possible. In knowing this Truth, in its absolute reality, the receivers of this message have a final stage of either submitting to it or having to deal with the consequences. The final stage is the punishment for rejection. This is God’s way, for thousands of years, in dealing with the generations that received His prophets.
I hope I have clarified the issue.
God knows best.