Through my eye

A sometimes caustic view of things.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

TIME TO QUIT PLAYING NICE

A number of right-wing American critics are perfectly correct in saying that we can’t separate religion from the war on terrorism. They are incorrect when they imply or state that Islam is less tolerant than Christianity.

Both are equally intolerant. There’s a simple test to prove it. Start up a casual conversation with a Christian minister, especially a Baptist, or an Islamic cleric. Turn the talk to religion and inform either one that you are a Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan or adherent of some other third party religion.

You’ll soon learn that you are misguided, mistaken, and condemned because of your choice of religion.

I’ll repeat my intent: A fundamentalist Christian is as capable of intolerant behavior as any Wahabist mullah in Saudi Arabia. Both can be impelled to kill in the name of religion. The only difference is that the Christian fundamentalists have progressed a little past the level of encouraging martyrdom. Not a lot, mind you, they still glory in tales of missionaries who have fed their far-flung flocks with both the blood of the Lamb and their own blood and lives in some senseless massacre

Religions and civilizations mature at about the same rate. Western, predominantly Christian, civilization is just slightly ahead of the rest of the world in becoming multicultural and more tolerant of diversity. The key to that is in how many Euro-Americans are turning from traditional structured religions to more ambiguous spiritual values.

The Islamic world is several generations from accepting any form of alternate spirituality on any basis of equality. The culture of the Islamic world is in flux, caught between the fundamentalist and those who want to become participants in the larger, more secular, world culture; which, like it or not, is western or Euro-American culture.

On an individual one-to-one based contact with a Moslem, or as a visitor to lands within Islamic culture, you can find much to like. A reading of the Koran can leave you with less discomfort than some parts of the Bible in regards to conflicting ideas and morals and contradictory statements. Certainly the Prophet, Mohammad, was firm in urging his followers to remember him as a man.

Well, a man is subject to criticism. His works are subject to examination. This is not true of the current treatment of Mohammad within the Islamic world today. The Koran does contain a couple of contradictions, directly attributable to the humanity and pride of Mohammad. But much of Islam as we know it is based on the posthumous collection of the sayings and actions of the Prophet, the Hadith, rather than the injunctions in the Koran.

Between the Hadith and the Koran, much of the good Mohammad attempted to bring about was subverted. By being able to teach that Mohammad said or did something different than was outlined in the Koran gives easement to ideas he tried to eliminate in his time. The basis for this is the elevation of the Prophet to the status of a perfect being, not subject to criticism. One whose actions, real or imagined, have become a hard and fast guide to Moslems everywhere.

The Koran becomes even more of a, forgive me the Hindu pun, sacred cow. Millions of Moslems learn the Koran by rote, in Arabic. Perhaps the majority of those Moslems do not have Arabic as their primary language. In effect, confining the understanding of the book to a limited number of scholars or clerics as effectively as Latin did for the Bible for hundreds of years. Just as Catholic priests and protestant ministers who could read and write made rules and dogma that crippled and subverted the religion to their own greed or philosophy, the mullahs and imams of Islam use their mastery of archaic Arabic to make of the words of the Prophet what they will.

As an aside, you will have heard, perhaps, that Arabic is the purest of languages, due to the Koran. Any student of language will tell you it is impossible for a language to remain static while it is spoken and used by a population. I have heard Japanese speak proudly of the uniformity of their language, too. That what you hear on Tokyo TV is the same Japanese spoken from one end of the islands to the other.

Both are cultural myths. Arabic is no purer than Japanese and a Japanese from Hokkaido can barely understand a Japanese from Kyushu if each were to speak to the other as they would speak at home.

We are engaged in a war between cultures. One culture has a rationale that supports savagery against its enemies to a slightly greater degree that the other. Reason is not part of the equation. You cannot reason with a Baptist minister and you cannot reason with a Moslem mullah. Our laws restrict what a Baptist minister can say or do to the pulpit and the editorial page. No government in the Euro-American culture would permit a Baptist minister to recruit followers and teach murder as a way of life without, sooner or later, stepping in and clamping down on him.

Oh, there are examples of such in our midst, but they are marginal and marginalized on purpose.

In Islam, they are neither marginal nor regulated. Islamic countries that support Sharia (religious law) basically put the lunatics in charge of the asylum. Moderate Moslems fear to speak out against this rule by fundamentalism because there are no restraints on the possible backlash form the fundamentalist legal system. Think the worst tortures of the inquisition, and you would be close to what freedom of speech would cost a moderate Moslem.

This is what it comes down to: The fundamentalist clerics of Islam are more dangerous than the terrorists they foster. They teach and preach martyrdom to their impressionistic youth. Rather than concentrate on identifying and killing their spawn, we should spend equal effort on identifying and killing their teachers. We must, unfortunately turn this into a religious war after all.

We should begin killing them whenever and wherever we find them. They are our enemy. You cannot try a man on his beliefs, you can only send him to his god for judgment. And, if there is any justice or truth in Islam, what awaits them at Allah’s hands is not what they expect.

2 Comments:

At August 2, 2005 at 8:35 PM, Blogger ANGEL ANTHONY said...

Is there another way than killing them?
If we kill them, we give them a reason to kill us and that confirms that their Koran was right in condemning non-Muslims.

But if we love them, we give them no reason to kill us, and our love for them will confirm that Allah is lying in the Koran.
Think about it.

 
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