Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Unfathomable Zealotry

When I read this, I realized that I thought the same: Where in the Muslim world did anyone say this man did not deserve to die?

"The world is too much with us," Wordsworth once wrote. This is certainly the way I feel. To be confronted on an almost daily basis with the horrors of Iraq is profoundly disturbing. The torture and decapitation of huge numbers of people, the casual homicides, the constant suicide bombings -- all of this makes you wonder about your fellow man.[snip]

In Africa, Asia, too much of the world -- it is Joseph Conrad much of the time: "The horror! The horror!"

But you can say that these horrors are usually being inflicted by a minority. You say it is a few crazed terrorists of Iraq who are doing the killing. It is not most Iraqis. You can say the same about suicide bombers and torturers and rogue governments, like the one Saddam Hussein once headed. You can take solace in numbers. Most people are like us.

Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint, their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now, though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs but a huge swath of the world that would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: They were in agreement.

The groupthink of the Muslim world is frightening. I know there are exceptions -- many exceptions. But still it seems that a man could be killed for his religious beliefs and no one would say anything in protest.[snip]

Unfathomable Zealotry

This is because, in the Muslim world, which so few people understand, it is very common for men and women to be put to death for leaving Islam or "committing apostasy". In fact, people of other faiths who try to practice their religion in Saudi Arabia or own any religious item such as a bible or a cross, can be killed or sentenced to prison. This is not just Iran with it's Mullahcracy or Pakistan with it's wild half jihadi lands on either side. In Egypt, in Yemen, even in Iraq, where many of the killings are kufirs or takfiris, in SAudi Arabia, are closest ME ally next to Israel or even Jordan; people are put to death, deported or put in prison for practicing their religion when it is not Islam. Worse, in places like Saudi Arabia, the Muttawa (religious police) can have you beaten, imprisoned or even killed for not practicing Islam the "right" way.

It's time that people wake up: that is the entire point of this war. Freedom. That includes the freedom to practice or not practice religion of a person's choice. It's about the Muslim world in the Middle East fearing that our culture is infiltrating their culture and turning Muslims from "true" Islam. In fact, this is true Islam. It is a basic tenet of "true" Islam whether it is Shia or Sunni, Wahhabi, Ashuri, etc.

We are not at war with Islam, but Islam is certainly at war with everything that is not Islam and within itself.

The cure for Islamic terrorism and stultifying autocracies is not simply democracy. True democracy, that we take for granted, requires an enlightenment that Islam has not experienced. It requires a belief in the goodness of your fellow man to the point that you believe you do not have to control his every movement because he will act within the bounds of a social contract that binds all men regardless of religion, race, creed, sex or ethnicity.

None of these things exist in Islam. Those who are not Muslim are less than second class citizens. No creed is allowed beyond the five pillars of Islam. In Sudan, black Muslims are being ethnicly cleansed.

This is reality that the media does not report. This is the reality that cheesy programs called "30 Days As A Muslim" never touched on as it barely gave you the basics of Muslim practices. The reality you will not see on a history program about Islam or the rise of Al Qaida. Al Qaida is not some abberation within Islam. It espouses little ideology that does not exist within "mainstream" Islam. No real media will analyze the true practices of Islam and present the facts because, if it did, people would finally understand that the "religion of peace" only exists where Muslims live within Western democratic states where the rule of secular law prevails. Even in such countries as France, Denmark and England, honor killings and murders of Kufirs or takfiris (one who denounces his faith or does not practice "real" Islam), occurs more than people would like to know.

The only reason this zealotry is unfathomable is because most people know nothing about Islam and never will because they will not search it out themselves and those with the tools and medium to do so will never do it. It's much easier for people to accept that the death and destruction that we have seen in the name of Islam is the product of a few deranged individuals who have twisted the religion to fit their own means (which surely many have). It is less scary to believe that there are just a few that need to be eliminated to achieve peace.

It is only unfathomable because people have chosen to be blind, deaf and dumb. If they didn't, they would find that 80% of Muslims are "conservative" and have no problem with killing a man for not believing in Allah. They would find that the destruction of Al Qaida and the death of bin Laden or Zawahiri will not end this war. That is something that most people cannot accept.

Fukyama was right in many regards. Democracy alone will not win this war nor see the sea change in the Middle East that would be required to end this war. Until we accept that, we will never fight this war the way it should be and we will never understand that the real change does not come when we install the ballot box, but when Western concepts of liberalism and enlightenment have infiltrated the Middle East along with our men and women in uniform, with our music, our movies, our books, our jeans and flip flops.

That is a long way away. Until then I imagine that many more people like the author of this piece will continue to be surprised by such behaviors as killing a man for his religion or murdering a woman for talking to a man.

Wake up, people, this is our war whether we like it or not.

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