Yet they do, in a way, serve as an example of what I am talking about. Every major Christian church I know of has condemned their hatefulness and violent, confrontational methods. Where is the outrage in the Muslim world over acts of terror done in the name of Islam? Where are the moderate Muslim leaders stepping out and denouncing these acts? There are a few, here and there, of course. But only a few.
I recognize that there are many decent, kind, peace-loving Muslims in the world, and especially here in America. I have known some of them. But moderate Muslims have been sidelined in the last century throughout the Middle East, and the most rigid, intolerant, and violent elements of the faith have taken over leadership both religiously and politically. The result is a culture that prizes death and violence as a way of life, and is determined to snuff out the light of Western Civilization.
As far as European colonialism goes, I am enough of a historian to know that much evil was done in the name of "civilizing" the pagan world. However, let's be totally honest here. Look at many of the nations of Africa, from Somalia to Sudan to Nigeria. Look at the constant civil war, the rape gangs, the 10 year olds waving AK-47's in the streets. In terms of education, longevity, and overall quality of life, are they better off now than they were when they were colonies of various European nations? Sadly, in most cases, I think the answer is no.
I hear all the time various Islamic Clerics denouncing terrorism. Most of this is low key, or by an individual here or there. I read an article months ago in a magazine from a man who lives in Baghdad and talks about how so many people are sick of Al Qaeda.
BUT for interests sake read this:http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_deoband_anti_terror_fatwa_but_who_is_listening/
Just to summarize the article: 10,000 odd Muslims in India protest against terrorism and denounce it as being 'Anti-Islamic.'
One quote from the article:
"When the unified voice of over 10,000 Muslims got relegated to a few column spaces somewhere in the corner of our major
English dailies, how do you think the voices of the common man in Lucknow , Ahmedabad or Hyderabad would reach different corners of the country?"
It's an interesting point really and highlights a big problem I have with this whole issue: people in general just commenting on an issue without actually knowing much about it. It's like everyone just watched True Lies and thinks that everyone who is Islamic is automatically a terrorist 'kill all Americans' type. I'm not a fan of Communist Governments but that doesn't mean I think my Chinese friends are evil pricks [well not ALL the time...] I'm also certainly not going to tell my friend to dump, or tell the Police to arrest my friend's Islamic girlfriend, who is perhaps the most timid, generous and kind person I've ever met based on baseless, sweeping assumptions on an entire religion.
Out of interests sake, and because I honestly don't know myself, where does the Qur'an allow for the killing of innocents? I'd also be interested in how many people know of anything just off the top of their heads [that is, they didn't actively search for it]. What I'm trying to see here is how much we actually know, and how much is just assumption and rumour. We're certainly an educated bunch here so I'm keen to see the results.
I must admit I read somewhere that killing of hostages is forbidden in the Qur'an. I also remember one Australian Cleric commenting on Australian terrorist issues saying that there's some verse in the Qur'an about respecting the laws of the country you are in. Again no source on that one other than my memory, but interesting nonetheless.
Something that often gets lost in the media reports are the motivations behind these bombings. We've discussed many different types of terrorist actions, from the IRA, Abortion Clinic bombings etc.
How many of these acts were purely from a Muslim or a Christian committing a terrible act based on his religious views? What were the core motivations for these acts?
Some may find it interesting that even Nelson Mandela was involved in terrorist action with the group Umkhonto we Sizwe, a group which started out by bombing targets like empty power stations but then got more and more sloppy and desperate and had also caused civilian casualties. We can all agree that terrorist acts such as bombing civilian targets is particularly reprehensible, yet Nelson Mandela is help up as a symbol of peace! I'm not trying to play down his achievements towards peace at all, but am merely pointing out that certainly all Muslims are not evil, and that we need to see the bigger picture rather than making rash assumptions...
I can hear knives sharpening already.
The initial bombing which started this discussion was the Marriot Hotel attack in Pakistan [correct me if I'm wrong Indiana].
Does anyone here know who caused this attack? I'll pass on what little I read about it:
"The explosion came hours after new President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, made his first address to parliament a few hundred metres away, calling for terrorism to be rooted out."
[sorry lost the link this was from]
"An official said that according to the report, the terrorist's target was the prime minister's house where all top officials including President Asif Ali Zardari, chiefs of military services, provincial governors, chief ministers and other high ranking officials were present for a dinner."http://story.malaysiasun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/409814/cs/1/
Early reports apparently said the bombing was motivated by continued Pakistani government co-operation with the American Governments. Incidentally, the political situation between Pakistan and America have been frayed lately after US forces approved attacks on suspected Taliban sites inside Pakistan borders without Pakistani Government permission. The fact that the targets seem to be Islamic Pakistani government officials would in a sense quash the argument that this is the Islamic religion fighting those that aren't Muslim.
Not sure if people outside of Australia can see this but I happened to turn on the news last night and there were some very interesting interviews and reports on the bombing and the attacks on Taliban sites and the repurcussions. You can see the interviews and reports here:http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/default.htm
[Scroll down the list to see them if you can, it's well worth a look]
Another recent series of bombings that happened in the last week or so was in Spain, by Basque seperatists. This was reported in the news, though not largely in depth. http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/22/europe/spain.php
For those not in the know, they are not Islamic, but rather skewed from a Marxist Leninist perspective [wank wank].
It was the simple question put to us is about bombings and who causes them. More importantly the main question led us to question the nature of a particular religion, and that it seems like all bombing attacks lately seem like they are by Islamic terrorists.
I am well aware that the Islamic world has it's fair share of problems, some of which are painfully apparent at times, but I certainly feel that there is much more to the issue than merely making sweeping comments about how evil and violent a religion is, when I'm seeing more and more evidence that it's not the religion that's the problem, but other factors. I certainly also reject the apparent p**sing contest we have going on here, the 'our religion is better than yours' that is going on.
In my initial post on this topic I alluded to the fact that the majority of suicide bombings seem to be by fundamentalist extremists and also poorly educated, poor in wealth peoples. How many of the big guns that we associate with Islamic terrorism are in the first world? I honestly can't think of one.
An article I looked at earlier [http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/17871
] makes a point that Indian Muslims are the second largest in the world, yet have 'remained aloof from Terrorism'. India certainly gets attacked, but that seems largely from Pakistani sources.
link this to violent street gangs in the US: people who just want to belong to a group [this link is wild at best but still]. People looking for someone to blame, and taking it out as such. The fact that these people are being led astray by those who have standing in Religion is a very dangerous combination. I compare this to a recent case here where Orthodox Priests charged a woman to exorcise her of a curse that she thought she was under, and proceeded to sexually assualt her under the guise of this in hotel rooms. Or Religious leaders forcing marriages to girls under 14, or Priests doing their thing with altar boys.
My point here is that when Religion is involved people are that much more vulnerable, and that makes things even more dangerous.
I think about the Crusades and how so many people, many likely our direct ancestors, committed so many terrible acts all in the name of a religion. I also think about how much we have changed as a society and in western civilisation in general since then. We have grown have we not?
What has changed since then and now? First of all, I think we are in a much better place than then, not only in wealth but in education, how much we know about the world and it's inhabitants etc.
I then think about how when I drive into the outer suburbs of my city I start to feel like I'm travelling back in time to the 80s. If I notice a difference in my own city, just imagine how it will be in a different country, one many times poorer than mine.
Then I think about alot of the hotbed countries. I think about the interview I saw on TV about some traditional Bedouin peasents, some of whom are so poor they wouldn't have even own the Qur'an let alone read one.
Think about some kids hanging about, and someone of local Religious importance comes and whispers in your ear about all these ills Americans or Israelis or whoever has done. And you think to yourself, 'boy that's just wrong' and this man starts to convince you that you need to fight to do what is 'right' and then adds to this by telling you that in sacrificing yourself, you are forgiven in the eyes of God, who are you to question this man.
I certainly don't know of how terrorists are recruited, but I would have to assume that the above situation will have happened at one point or another.
I'd like to put a strong case for how the Islamic religion is not the problem. Seperate fact from fiction when thinking about this issue.http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com/mainarticle.html
The above site sums up alot of my thinking on this topic. It also puts forward some ideas to help combat some of the problems this issue has caused. I very much encourage people to read it who are interested in this issue.
The point I liked most is that of education: teach people about Islamic faith. Get it out there, expose it for all it's flaws and all its strengths. The more people know the harder it is to use it as justification for violence, either from us or them.
What about Communist Propaganda, or Islamic Propaganda? What is that doing? Causing disinformation, causing people to believe things that are false. People who know the truth don't buy into the rhetoric and therefore are much less likely to act according to that rhetoric.
In that Islam101 site I mentioned in my first post there was a brief mention of how in history Muslim leaders were quite tolerant of other religions. Even Mohammed himself:
"During the life of Prophet Muhammad, the Jews in Madina had a synagogue and an educational institute, Bait-Al-Midras. The Prophet preserved the institute and gave protection to the Jews. The Prophet respected the autonomy of the Christian churches. The nomination and the appointment of bishops and priests was left to the Christian community itself. Prophet Muhammad promoted cooperation between Muslims and Christians in the political arena as well. He selected a non-Muslim, 'Amr-ibn Umaiyah-ad-Damri, as an ambassador to Negus, the King of Ethiopia"
[here for the full mention that I spied: http://www.islam101.com/terror/toleranceftf.htm
My point is not to excuse any terrorist bombings. What I'm trying to do here is promote more tolerance. You don't have to like them, but don't hate them just because of the acts of certain terrible individuals. What are we going to do? Take the fight personally to every single Islamic person everywhere? They're not all evil. Certainly alot of what I read points to that very fact.
Um Yes... epic...