Thursday, December 20, 2007

Muslims Chant Death to America! Death to Israel!" at Hajj Part 1

That headline is 'accurate,' but misleading. Very misleading, I hope. I'll save my ongoing rant about news and truth for the next post.

Muslims from all over the world are at Mecca, for Hajj. It's a very big deal for Muslims, one of the five pillars of Islam: "a pinnacle of worship in order that Muslims who gather to perform Hajj can praise their Lord and Master, be thankful for His blessings, and humbly pray to Him for the removal of their difficulties. Muslims living in various parts of the world get to know each other, lay the foundation of social culture, give advice to each other, and provide opportunity for collective struggle.

I'm a bit disquieted by that "collective struggle" business. It's too close to the 'workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains' philosophy I kept running into, back in the "good old days" of the sixties and seventies. (And yes, I know that a better translation is "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!")

However, Hajj predates Marx and Lennin by centuries, and is unquestionably one of the most important, and well-known, aspects of Islam.

It's also a wonderful opportunity for people and organizations to get attention.

For example, one group had "a brief rally held by several hundred Iranian pilgrims, calling on Muslims to unite against the U.S. and Israel, which they said 'dominate the Muslim world.' "

That rally is yearly affair, set up by the Iranian government. This year there were "several hundred Iranian pilgrims" calling the faithful to unite against America and Israel. In a crowd of "millions of Muslims," about 1/10,000 of the Muslims engaged in Hajj were at the Iranian rally

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei sent an envoy with a message, telling Muslims that "hajj requires them to show love for God and to 'expel, fight and stand up to Satan' -- lessons Muslims 'have to learn all over the world.' " Also that "They are hatching plots in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan and pitting one section of Muslims against the other," Supreme Leader's envoy Ayatollah Mohammadi Reyshahri read from the statement.

And, the rally had the usual "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" chants against two nations that Iran's leaders say are the enemies of Allah. But, being good Muslims, the Iranian rally didn't have the usual fist shaking. Hajj is, after all, a place where aggressiveness, arguments and disputes are left behind.

I'd like to think that "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" - and the assumption that America and Israel are enemies of Allah - are ideas that some Muslims question: but I could be wrong.

Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.