Wednesday, February 6, 2008

'Will the Real Islam, Please Stand Up?'

(Hats off to "To Tell the Truth" for contributing "will the real [name], please stand up?" to American culture.)

Earlier today, I wrote about a remarkably civil Islamic response to Islamic images which some Muslims think are un-Islamic ("A Muslim Protest: Peaceful, Civil, Courteous").

Now, I read about Al Qaeda's kiddie program: children, age 6 to 14, trained to be good Muslims by killing infidels for Allah and Al Qaeda. (Details, and a link to clips from the Al Qaeda video, is at "Al Qaeda Trains Young Boys as Terrorists, Tapes Show.")

No wonder it's hard for an outsider to figure out what Islam is, and what it stands for. Some devout Muslims paint religious pictures that other devout Muslims say are un-Islamic. Meanwhile, still other Muslims are teaching kids to use automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and suicide vests.

The impression I get is that Muslims believe whatever the nearest Imam says, and that the Imam comes up with 'true Islam' based on what Imam friends of his say when they get together, modified by the local culture, and (on occasion) his own psychiatric conditions.

Being an American, I'm inclined to assume that 'democracy' is a good thing, associated with good things like
  • Responsibility
  • Grassroots common sense
  • (Occasionally) responsive government
The way Islam has evolved, with beliefs determined in part by local and regional groups, may be an example of why assumptions should be examined and tested from time to time.

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

6 comments:

Irtiza104 said...

yes, many of us do intend to follow the sayings of the nearest IMAM rather than the sayings of the HOLY QUR'AN. this is morally and islamicaly wrong.

Christopher Parker said...

You could write the same post and substitute the word "Christian" for "Muslim". Us Christians also basically follow the teachings of the Minister. That's just human nature. I mean yes we have the bible (as they have the Koran), but it's interpretation does differ considerably!

Is this morally wrong? Lots of people (Christians and judging by Irtiza104, Muslims too). I say it's unavoidable. For better of worse, we are created this way - struggling to figure out what is truth . . . and often arriving at different answers. I'm not sure what God's design was in this, but I trust there was one.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Christopher Parker,

Since "Christian" often means "Protestant" in America - more specifically, "'Bible-believing' Protestant group that agrees with my group,'" you're right.

Given the latter definition, I'm not Christian, I'm Catholic.

In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, it is possible to do more than hope that the nearest priest knows what he's talking about.

Catholics have the Bible, the Magisterium, and Tradition as a means of determining what's true and what's not, when it comes to the Christian faith.

I cited the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' definitions of the terms in "The Catholic Church: Authoritarian, Which Isn't Necessarily a Bad Thing" (October 2, 2008).

So, I can't view a Christian relying on what a local minister has to say about the Bible as "unavoidable." As for its being "morally wrong," I'd prefer a term like "mistaken."

Finally, a plug for another blog that tells what it's like for A Catholic Citizen in America.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Irtiza104,

I have read similar statements from quite a number of thoughtful Muslims. This is not the most serene time for Islam, but I think there is the potential for Muslims to seriously study and reconsider what they believe.

Not necessarily change: but reconsider.

akhter said...

ISLAM AND THE WEST: TOWARDS AN ANTI-CIVILIZATION


A sorry tale of sorry plans,
Which this conclusion grants,
That Afghan clans had all the khans
And we had all the can’ts.

On Lieutenant Eyre’s Narrative of the Disaster of Cabul
Thomas Hood (1799-1845)


At the present time, the media of Western Europe are filled with controversy about anti-Muslim cartoons, originating in Denmark and now widely published elsewhere in Western Europe. These have deeply offended Muslim sensibilities worldwide. Reprinted by the now sacked Jewish managing editor of the notoriously xenophobic French tabloid, France Soir, they have led to the beginning of a Muslim boycott of Western European goods. This event and its political ramifications recall the publication some twenty years ago of the blasphemous book The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.

Some would say that at heart this is not an anti-Muslim attack, since the Western media, which are controlled by anti-religious forces, also blaspheme against Christianity. There is truth in this. For example, the absurd but shocking blasphemies against Christ, contained in the fictional ‘The Da Vinci Code’, have made that novel a bestseller. Nevertheless, although Western secularism does hate all religious faith, in this particular case, it has made Islam the target of its gratuitous insults.

The reason for the appearance of these anti-Muslim attacks is linked to the active or passive support of Western powers of the invasions of two Islamic countries, Iraq and, previous to that, Afghanistan. Supposedly, this was in revenge for the murderous Muslim attacks on the USA in 2001. However, those attacks were themselves in revenge for the American support of the State of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of Arabs which that State has carried out in Palestine for nearly sixty years. Thus began the present spiral.

However, the West is not only anti-Muslim. We should not overlook the fact that before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the West had a trial run in Non-Muslim Eastern Europe, by bombing and partially invading Serbia. And within the last two years, the West has also attempted to take over Georgia and the Ukraine. Thus, the so-called ‘Orange Revolution’ in the Ukraine, orchestrated by the West and financed from Washington by over $70m (as was revealed in the U.S. media last year), tens of millions of euros from Brussels and large amounts of George Soros’ money, was an attempt to take control of another strategic part of the world. Thus, in 2005 alone the White House invested $174m in 'aid' to the Ukraine. Moreover, the recent discovery of a spy ring in Russia, choreographed by the British Embassy in Moscow and undenied by the only mildly embarrassed British Prime Minister, makes clear the ultimate Western objective here: the control of Russia’s huge oil and gas reserves.

The West has always used ‘human rights’ as an excuse to take control. It did this in the Cold War. What more popular way to undermine nasty Communist dictatorships? Of course, this is very easy when the targets are dictators like Milosevic, the Taliban and Hussein. However, it should not be forgotten that only a couple of decades ago these same tyrants were feted and supported by the same West. Thus, Milosevic and the Taliban, armed and trained by the US, were useful since they were anti-Soviet, and Hussein, armed by the West, was little more than a CIA stooge, since he was anti-Iranian.

Today, in the same way, the West is interfering in Russia through its support of NGOs (so-called ‘Non-Governmental’ Organizations). Although some of these are above board, others are mere fronts to obtain strategic control in Russia. Such was the recent case of the British-run spy-ring in Russia. The excuse for the existence of these NGOs is generally the Western desire to foster 'democracy'. This seems to overlook the fact that Russia has a President, elected democratically with a far greater plebiscite than either President Bush or the minority-elected British Prime Minister.

In fact, ‘democracy’ in the West, where anyone can be elected, if he has enough money and propaganda (‘public relations’), democracy sometimes seems to be used as a tool to undermine other nations. In any case, why this idolization of democracy? ‘Democracy’ may be very good, but not always. Hitler was elected democratically. In Iraq democracy has given voice to fanaticism. In any case, is there a single truly democratic country in the world, apart perhaps from Switzerland? For some, 'democracy' seems to conceal ulterior motives.

When the rest of the world, Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Chinese or African, looks at the contemporary 'democratic', 'Western' world, it sees a strange picture. For example, at the moment the Western elite is celebrating a 'cultural triumph', a Hollywood film called Brokeback Mountain, which glorifies homosexuality and denigrates marriage and family life. (Similarly, Da Vinci, a well-known homosexual, is now glorified for his painting of the Last Supper, in which he depicts an effeminate boy-friend in place of St John). In the UK, the media has been filled in recent weeks with the fall of a secularist Political Party called the Liberal Democrats. Its leader was revealed to be an alcoholic and one of those who wished to replace him, a married man with two children, was forced to admit to regularly hiring a male prostitute. Such scandals stretch to other senior members of the same Party and indeed go back decades to others. Some have commented that the problem with that Party is that it is ‘too liberal’.

The point is, why does the secularist West feel that it has the right to interfere in its neighbours’ affairs, when it has so many illnesses of its own? No-one would ever defend murderous dictators like Hussein (except the secularist West, when he was fighting against Iran), but why is the degeneracy of the West any better? With its two Wars, which it made into World Wars, its huge nuclear, chemical and biological arms arsenal (a small part of which it sold to Iraq), with its abortion holocaust and the open encouragement of immorality in its media and on its streets, why does the West look for ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in the empty sands of the Middle East? The only weapons it will find there are the nuclear weapons it aided Israel to manufacture, or those that it exported there, marked ‘Made in the USA’, ‘Made in the UK’, ‘Made in France’ or Made in Germany’. In fact, the only real 'weapon of mass destruction' is the lethal spiritual poison of secularism, born in and exported from the West itself.

Whatever the murderous excesses of dictators, and the Western world should know about them from its own twentieth-century experiences, and whatever the merits of freedom, much-vaunted Western free speech must be tempered. On the other hand, there must be the free speech to state facts - a freedom which is rare in the Muslim world and many other countries, like China or Zimbabwe, which are left alone by the West. On the other hand, free speech must not state hatred. In other words, free speech must be tempered by compassion for others. Why blaspheme? Why gratuitously insult? Why this need for passion and hatred? The secular West feels hatred. In reality, there is only one thing we should feel hatred for - and that is for hatred itself.

The fact is that the secular and humanistic West has almost completely lost its Christian roots and so is becoming Christ-hating. In so doing, it is losing all respect for all religion, it is coming to hate all religion, all concept of holiness. It preaches tolerance, but in fact this is a mask, at best for indifference, at worst for hatred. It preaches free speech, but in fact this means selective free speech, the freedom to preach against everything, except the West's own new religion of Godlessness. As a result, the humanist West has lost all balance between rights and responsibilities and carefully selects its enemies. As usual, the West overestimates itself and demeans others.

Regarding other human-beings, races and religions, let us be free to give our honest, and hopefully not cartoon-shallow, opinions, but without hatred. We believe in Christ, the Son of God and we confess the Holy Trinity. We are not syncretistic admirers of Islam: we are well aware of what we believe to be errors there and over the years have published our views of them with dispassion. However, dispassion seems to be too hard for the secular and apostate West. It long ago buried the Gospel and its teaching that we are to love not only our neighbours, but also our enemies. And yet it is only by living this Gospel teaching that the Western world can be saved from its own degeneracy and hatred, and the Islamic world from its excesses and errors.

A Civilization based on hatred of religious faith, as contemporary secular Western Civilization appears to be, is in fact not a Civilization at all, but an Anti-Civilization. And in that case this present controversy is not in fact about a clash of Civilizations, between the West and Islam, but rather about a clash between Civilization and Anti-Civilization. And that is a far more serious matter.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

akhter,

In short, the War on Terror is America's fault because America won't let Muslims kill Jews.

There's actually a bit of truth to it. However, since it assumes that America is the Amerika of college campus beliefs, and that a few other debatable points are true, I don't buy it.

Unique, innovative candles


Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Blogroll

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.