Monday, August 16, 2004

Islam - The Enemy Within

No...I'm not converting. However, I do feel that one must have a clear understanding of the opposition. Part of the opposition is using Islam in it's extremist state, to shore up a political ideology. As secular Americans, it is difficult to understand how someone can allow their religion to guide them in law, living, politics and war.

Or not. One of the ten commandments (Christian/Jew/Muslim) is "thou shall not kill". And that is written in our law. Of course, if you are an athiest or secular humanist, you may also believe that this is basic law of humanity. Possibly, the commandments are simply the writing of well know humanist laws within a religious text? Possibly. Or, did religion come first and secular humanist come second? The Chicken or the Egg?

Either way, it is best to understand how your opposition (dare I say "enemy") operates in order to create a sound method to defeat them.

Let me start out by saying, Islam is not my enemy. No more than Catholicism, Judaism, Pentacostle, Amish, Anime, Hindu, Buddha, atheist (yeah, I count that as a religion), etc. Singling out the religion as the "enemy" or any person that worships in that particular mode as the "enemy" is a rather crude and unrealistic method of sorting out the players in our current situation. If you do, you may well alienate a crucial part of the population from being your ally.

So, tonight, I started reading all of the sites and other information passed to me from different sources regarding Islam. The first thing that became perfectly clear is that trying to lump all worshippers of Islam into one catagory "Muslim" is like saying "Christian" and think that all Christians worship the same and have the exact same beliefs or all follow the Pope. The same can be said for Judaism, although I will not go into the different sects here because that is not my focus.

Islam has as many sects and schools of belief as Christianity. I hazard a guess, though not widely studied by me, that Hindis and Buddhists probably have the same sort of splits.

I based the title of my entry on this fact: there are many sects within Islam and they are at war with one another for supremacy. Within this war, there are those that seek to keep their power and those that wish to use this war as a vehicle to their own power. This war has been going on for centuries and, in fact, can mirror Christianity or Judaism's struggle to define itself. Currently, those wishing to come to power via this struggle have determined that the best way to consolidate their base is by declaring the enemy to be someone or something other than their Muslim brother that might not worship or believe exactly as they do. First, they will bring these folks into the fold and then they will slowly wash away their previous sectarian beliefs and mold them into their own political/religious image. Identifying a single, outside enemy, can serve as a powerful uniter.

It is obvious that the enemy chosen is the United States and, more roundly, Western Civilization.

In the same respect, in the best guerilla methods, the enemy has chosen to hide within a large population and proclaim their "religion", thus depriving us of the same unifying enemy as we felt in WWII against the Japanese and the Germans.

So, what is at stake here is the future of Islam to exist as a religion within secular laws or whether it defines itself completely as a separate movement, with it's own laws that rise above any state. At this point, it is hard to know the future. As it is, I hear many non-Muslims crying out for the Secular or Moderate Muslims to condemn the acts of their fellow extremists. I hear also the frustration of the same non-Muslims when this is not forthcoming in the strong language that we expect to hear. It is simple enough to understand that, in this war for the soul of Islam, the Muslims fear speaking out, not because of retribution, though there may be some, and not because they actually condone these actions, though some may well do so.

The point here is that the Muslim world is about to splinter. These folks fear that their very religion will disappear in a puff of smoke should they begin this leg of "fighting" against each other. Hence, whenever a Muslim does speak out about attrocities or other acts of violence and lawlessness that may otherwise offend them, they always pose it with a qualifier that asks for or demands that we or those outside of their religion, share the blame.

They are in a real sense, walking a fine line between their feelings of humanity and their solidarity with their Muslim brothers in the face of potential implosion of Islam.

The problem here maybe that these folks have already missed the point that Islam is within a perpetual struggle to define itself just as Christianity and other religions continue to do. It us only the strong that step forward and take the wheel of the careening bus that may save the passengers. Currently, that careening bus seems to be under the control of the extremists. Frankly, I see a large scale struggle for taking control of the steering wheel.

We are in the middle of this situation and, through attack on ourselves, are compelled to take sides. That side being that a secular Islam is acceptable, but extremism is not. It's not a hard choice. The extremist have already hit us.

I do find it rather amusing to see many Europeans and Americans claiming that WE chose Islam as our enemy. That is not so. Never said by the administration. Continuing to forget the extremist Islam has lasted over a century and continues to fight within itself for a supremacy of beliefs or recognizing that this extremism was on a crash course with secular society. Note that I do not say "western culture" here, because it is all secularism, regardless of country or culture, that Islamic extremists are bound and determined to fight.

Islam is not doomed to complete destruction, but is definitely doomed to committ the same follies of the ultra religious Christians of the middle ages complete with all of it's mummery and superstitious beliefs. Thus, Islam, the enemy within.

I am going to attempt to publish some continuing thoughts on the subject over the next few weeks. The best method to understanding who is the enemy and how we can ally ourselves with "secularism" in Islam and force it to part from their group think that denouncing a fellow Muslim will destroy Islam, is to completely understand it's history and relationship, both secular and relgious, with itself and with the western cultural.

I will not cover the crusades or Spain or really the Ottoman Empire as these were mostly wars of dominion with religion barely a kiss upon it's cheek. Discussions will only veer into that area if there is a direct correlation to the subject at hand. Namely, Islam self destructing and we, the "Kuffir" standing in the middle.

My next post, will continue on from the original discussion where I pointed out the beginnings of the relationship between Islam and Judaism, titled: Islam and Judaic History: Sibling Rivalry and Jealousy in which I discuss Islam's claim to Abraham and the potential of a very ugly sibling rivalry. In the next point, we will jump ahead to Mohammed hijacking pieces of Judeo/Christian religion and using it for his own purpose.


91ghost said...

While the religion in and of itself may not be the enemy, the culture that is breeding around that religion certainly is. No, I certainly don't have an expert grasp on Islam--but I do look at those Muslims deemed as moderate, and I really do wish that they would more aggressively counter the extremist Muslims--even if it has to get ugly. Also, I take a look at things such as Muslim prayers being delivered over loudspeakers that resound throughout the public's space (in some Detroit area towns with significant Muslim populations) and the "Be a Muslim Day" in some California public schools and I wonder why that is tolerated. If some fervent Baptist was proselytizing loud enough for the entire town to hear five times a day, the ACLU would shut him down quicker than an eyeblink---the same goes if a public school ever had a "Be a Christian Day." I would be against both--but why the "tolerance" for the public indoctrination of a religion used as a weapon by our enemy? Again, I really think the American public is going to have to develop a stronger stomach if ever we are to resolve this situation.

Kat said...

91..I would agree. In an attempt to compensate for something, potentially our ability to go to the extreme against these folks, we are over compensating, more accepting than we should be of having that religion accomodated.

No one ever said "be a sikh day" or be a buddhist. I agree, some things have gone to far. But, if we say anything we are a racist. (Although, being against the proliferation of religion in school can't be "racial" can it?)

This is where we lead into problems. I was just saying to someone that I did not support the removal of "under God" from our pledge of allegiance. But, I suppose that if you don't totally take God out of the mix, you will always leave the door open for this kind of abuse.

Sad really. But I am leaning towards that more and more.

Tom said...

Kat - glad to see you taking on this issue. A history of the conflict between Islam and Christianity would be useful towards countering some of the misconceptions. On the of the biggest of course is the PC version whereby those peaceful Muslims were just sitting there and these big bad Crusaders came along....

More to the point, these folks(the Muslims) have a huge chip on their shoulders. They can't figure out why they don't rule the world, not us. After all, they'd say "our religion is the right one." I hope you include what you think about this in your future pieces.

I used to think that Turkey could be a useful ally in reforming the Muslim world. After all, they are the only Muslim country to have successfully secularized themselves. But I think that A) We didn't try to woo them hard enough, and B) The Arabs are just racist enough not to want to listen to the Turks.

What do you think it would take for a Martin Luther to come along? Can we facilitate the process, and are we doing just that in Iraq?

Kat said...

The martin luther of Islam has yet to be born I think. New ideas about Islam are just starting to take place. Islam itself has many passages that insist fellow muslims protect each other and come to each other's defense. In such a case, to go against a fellow muslim is to go against their religious teachings.

Somebody is going to have to do it. To go against it, but they have to be a very strong preacher/teacher with a strong following. Remember, we are talking about 1.5 B people. If only 10k follow this movement they are more likely to be ostrascized and referred to as apostates. In particular, I'm not even sure if this person can come out of the west. I'm thinking they cannot have any western taint on them.

Someone like Sistani would be good. He believes politics and religion are separate. I'm not sure I understand the rest of his beliefs, but that is certainly a start.

Unfortunately, Sistani is old and frail. Unless one of his students is just as strong and capable, his movement is but a blip on the screen and we need to look for another.

Islam must change from withing. The US can only fight the extremist political groups. Islam as an ideology must defeat itself. Either through internal reform or through complete collapse through irrelevance.

Since Islam as the third largest religion is hardly likely to fall into irrelevance any time soon, internal reform is required.

Robert said...

The Martin Luther of Islam?

On one hand Martin Luther pointed out corruption in the Church. (good)

On the other hand, he also took it as a chance to change Church beliefs and such.

The problem with Islam is that unlike Christianity (which promotes peaceful martyrdom), Islam promotes violent martyrdom. Thats the problem. (Which combined with the political bent of Islam and such... but I don't want to get into that.)

Kat said... have to remember that, at the time of Martin Luther, the church was still burning heretics, torturing confessions and hanging witches. Christianity was also calling for crusades to regain the holy land and the Roman Catholic church would issue papal bulls in support of one warring party or the other.

Much like the Imams issue fatwas.

Further, most of the followers were illiterate and never understood latin, which masses were performed in. So, they were, as muslims in third world countries, subject to believing whatever drivel came out of their clergy's mouths and many times without the ability to seek a different opinion from a higher level or outside source.

Christianity was hardly the religion of peace and enlightenment at that time.

it took serious reforms within the church as well as education of the masses in literature and basic science to get to the point where Christianity did not run their every waking moment.

This is exactly what we are seeing in Islam. What is weird to us is to see it in this day in age when science so permeates the world. We can hardly accept that such bullshit beliefs can rule people.

Of course, we are only talking about the masses here. This does not explain the educated Islamists, like zawahiri and bin laden who know differently and still "believe". The reality is that these kind of guys are different from the masses in two ways:

1) They are seeking power, not just empowerment like the masses.
2) They are nearly a cult where they believe they have a higher calling to make Islam THE relgious and political governor of the world.

The others are just sheep. Just like normal peasants were sheep during the middle ages and well into the renassaince age.

Plenty of Christian priests, abbots and cardinals (think cardinal Richelieu of France) that used their religious seat as a place of power and able to obtain wealth. Just like the Imams in the big Mosques in KSA and other areas of the ME.

Robert said...

My point Kat, was that the problems in the Church came from corruption. Not dogmatic beliefs.

In Islam, its different. There are beliefs that assist in the violent and tyrannical nature of radical Islam- such as shar'ia and violent martyrdom.

While Martin Luther's lasting legacy on the Church was eliminating corruption (and of course, forming separate churchs), a similar reform would necessitate a change in religion for Islam. Until the political end is expressly cut from the religious end, and until moderate interpretations of the Qu'ran are adopted the problem of readical Islam will not completely disappear.

Church= corruption in the people who ran it.
Islam= problems in the actual meat or substance of the religion.

Robert said...

I almost forgot:
" have to remember that, at the time of Martin Luther, the church was still burning heretics, torturing confessions and hanging witches."
Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition!

"Christianity was also calling for crusades to regain the holy land and the Roman Catholic church would issue papal bulls in support of one warring party or the other."
Hrm. To regain the holy land? From who, dare I say, were they regaining it from? (And if they were 'regaining' it, would that not preclude them from being 'aggressors'?)