ReligiousExtremism.620

 

I have a couple of questions. But before I ask them I need to do some 'set-up'.

OK, I understand it is largely due to the US destabilization of the Middle East back in 2003 - when we invaded Iraq - that the U.S. can be called the major contributing factor in the creation of ISIS (or ISIL or Daesh or whatever). When we disbanded the Iraqi military, we left hundreds of thousands of highly trained, heavily armed, pissed off people wandering the country side wondering how they were going to feed their families and/or simply survive. It's no surprise this group was the beginning of the insurgency that turned the Iraq war into the quagmire it became. Then, over time it morphed into al-Qaeda's meaner nastier sibling that we're dealing with now. We own that. That is something we must take with us no matter what happens.

I also understand that Syrian leader Bashar Assad is also responsible for motivating this group further with his brutal repression of the Syrian people. He has a lot to answer for.

Then there is the radical extremists themselves who got together and formed this murderous band of religious fanatics. They decided it was a good idea to create an Islamic state based on the repressive Wahhabi teachings, found only in the most oppressive dictatorships in the region (i.e. Saudi Arabia, the Taliban, Iran, etc.) and some extreme fundamentalist interpretations of the Koran preached by radical clerics. Followed by the implementation of Sharia law within their captured territory driving out hundreds of thousands of moderate Muslims and waging a very public war with the west.

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I am also under the belief that this radical version of Islam is not the mainstream version of Islam practiced by the majority of Muslims. The majority of Muslims are not extremists. They do not want to wage war with non-Muslim countries and most want basically the same things we want - A good job, a safe place to raise a family, a government that is not corrupt or oppressive and most of all, not to have to live in fear. I truly believe that these folks do not like the fact that extremists have high-jacked their religion any more than we do.

Which brings me to my first question, "Why are these mainstream Muslims, who want the same things as we do, not doing more to stop the extremists who are turning the world against their religion and beliefs?"

I honestly think that if it was fundamentalist Christians who were doing what ISIS is doing, the world would look to the majority of "normal" Christians (or Baptists, or Presbyterians, or Snake Handlers, who ever) as the ones to stop it. Same with the Jewish community. It is the responsibility of those within an organization to police the activities of those who claim membership, or identify themselves as that same group, when they cross a line.

Right?

The way I see this playing out is: if the West is expected to deal with these guys then nothing is ever going to get fixed. Christians and Muslims have been fighting for close to a thousand years. Every time we engage each other it brings more hate and discontent between the two cultures. The next generation of intolerance is being born on both sides right now and we ignore this fact like it will not continue to perpetuate the problem. The only people who can really put an end to this madness are other Muslims. Period. Sure, we can, and should, provide help and support. But we can't do it alone.

Here's an example: Lets say one of your brothers, sisters, cousins or some other family member does something terrible and ends up hurting a friend from your old neighborhood, or a co-worker or even a stranger. People start talking about how terrible this relative is and what should be done to stop them. Suddenly someone your family has history with starts talking about handling your relative themselves in ways a lot of people don't agree with. Wouldn't you rather handle this situation within your own family? And wouldn't you consider any outsider who tried to deliver their own punishment a problem and some one not to be trusted? Especially if a case could be made that this outsider had done similar bad things on their own in the past?

Isis

I would think this is a natural reaction to most situations like this. We would feel responsible for the actions of a member of our family, concern over public opinion of the family unit and resentment of any outsider who took it upon themselves to try and punish our relative.

Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see a lot of people of the Muslim faith taking the lead in this matter. They make public statements condemning the perpetrators of these events after the attacks happen, such as in France and Bali, but they take no action to stop them. Statements are just words. Action is what achieves results.

I have been thinking about this for a long time so you cannot imagine how happy I was when the president brought it up in his speech after the Paris attack. I thought "Excellent. Now we can have a long overdue conversation." But the next morning on the 24 hr. News channels all I hear is a lot of people ignoring this part of his speech and talking a lot of crap about how he didn't say anything new, how he has no real policy, how he is weak on terrorism and a bunch of other garbage that might as well be labeling him with the same old tired crap about being a foreign born, socialist, Muslim, communist, impostor without a birth certificate.

Did you hear that loud popping sound just now? Yeah, that was my 'bubble'.

The president gave a speech in which he hit the nail on the head and all we got from the politicians and pundits was the same old same old. WTF! This president could announce he had found the cure for cancer, a way to stop old white guys from aging and a fresh round of tax cuts for Gajillionaires and the republicans would still vote it down! These guys better be damned glad I'm not Barrack Obama, because if I was I would convert to Islam for a day, implement Sharia Law and behead the whole lot of them. Then just to piss off their families I would confiscate their wealth and fund a nationwide 'Our Muslim Friends' day.

Now, my next question is this; "So, if the one common thread between the 3 main religious groups in the middle of all this (Muslims, Christians and Jews) is the 'God' from the Old Testament/Koran/Torah - the one who came up with 10 rules we are all supposed to abide by - then how did he screw up something as simple as the sixth commandment?"

You know, that one seemed pretty straight-forward to me - "Thou shall not kill". No asterisk. No footnote reference. No legalese regarding the definition of the word 'kill' (it doesn't even separate out 'murder' from 'killing') Not a lot of room to 'interpret' this one or put some fundamentalist spin on it. Yet the extremists on both sides of this fight claim to be doing gods work by killing hundreds of thousands of people so they can declare their side victorious. And both sides seem prepared to keep on killing no matter how many people die.

Religious Extremism

I think it's safe to say this 'God guy' made his intentions pretty clear. If you parse the sentence 'Thou shall not kill' it seems to say that 'we should not kill'. Period. So who's bright idea was it to read this commandment and decide that maybe, just maybe, what this all knowing, all seeing, omnipotent, omnipresent guy really meant to say was; 'Thou shall not kill - unless it falls into one of the following categories..."

And, who decided we had a hope in hell of knowing what this entity really wanted done in his name in the first place? We don't even have proof of the dude's existence - any of us. Muslin, Jew or Christian. We are basing the repeated and flagrant violation of a direct command from a so-called 'God' based on what? A human understanding of what this universal, all powerful entity wants us to do about anything. OK, Yeah, we're fucked.

When it comes to 'God' type questions, we only know one fact for certain- that we have absolutely zero facts, or proof, that he/she/it even exists.

So, what the hell are we doing, folks? According to my read on the situation, we are losing a game without even having an opponent. If God does exist, then he is going to be really pissed at all of us when he see's we broke a top ten rule in his name and have killed literally billions of humans down the centuries fighting over religion. Second, if the 'One God' is the common thread between Muslims, Jews and Christians he's going to be even more pissed off at us for not handling the situation in... oh, let's say; the first thousand years and making an effort to better understand each other. And third, if, like I believe, he doesn't really exist at all... WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH US!

As I sit here writing this piece an interesting thought crosses my mind. It seems to me like we have possibly arrived at one of those "once in a lifetime" opportunities to solve two problems at once. America, as you may know, has its own home grown group of extremists we need to deal with - the war mongering right wingers - before we can begin to think about doing anything about ISIS. So, I suggest a compromise agreement between parties to handle the situation. Why don't we Americans agree to do something to stop the nut-bag republicans who would rather shut down our border and track all Muslim travel like a Fed-X package if the moderate Muslims will agree to do something to stop the crazy masked bunch of cowardly Islamic murderers who declared war on the world. That sounds both fair and appropriate. Plus it might just be the only way this situation will get fixed for good. The only thing I can say with some degree of certainty is that fighting and killing each other isn't going to do it any more.

Which brings me to my last question; "How do we get there from here?" If, in fact, the majority of Christians, Muslims, and every other religion, want to leave the chaos of fundamentalism in the past, what must we do to create that environment? Hey, Don't look at me. I don't know. I'm no God!

But, it's the single most important question we need to ask.

~ EJK

Eric J. Kiser

Eric J. Kiser

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