Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Muslims, Christians, and Regular Old American Homegrown Terrorists

All too familiar spreading threat

But not this, right???

I have wanted to write about this topic for a very long time – it reinforces my belief and of this phrase, which is one taught to our own military that states simply: “Know Your Enemy” the ancient saying derived from Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

Idea and Introduction for this post was taken from this very good article (The Atlantic) –check it out and then continue below.

From the NY Times – a fine article, in part: There are many forms of Islamism, from the Taliban to Hamas, from the Muslim Brotherhood to Boko Haram. What they have in common is a capacity to fuse hostility toward the West with hatred for modernity and, seemingly, to provide an alternative to both. Islamists marry political militancy with a conservative social sensibility, a hostility to globalization with the embrace of a global ummah (the worldwide community of Muslim believers). In so doing, they turn the contradictory aspects of their rage against modernity into a strength.  However, Muslims are not the only religious group involved in perpetrating horrors.

From Christian militias in the Central African Republic reportedly eating their foes to Buddhist monks organizing anti-Muslim pogroms in Myanmar, there is cruelty aplenty in the world. Nor are religious believers alone in committing grotesque acts. Yet, critics argue, there appears to be something particularly potent about Islam in fomenting violence, terror and persecution.

These are explosive issues and need addressing carefully. The trouble is that this debate remains trapped between bigotry and fear. For many, the actions of groups like the Islamic State or the Taliban merely provide ammunition to promote anti-Muslim hatred.

Many liberals, on the other hand, prefer to sidestep the issue by suggesting that the Taliban or the Islamic State do not represent “real Islam” — a claim made recently, in so many words, by both President Obama and David Cameron, the prime minister of Britain. Many argue, too, that the actions of such groups are driven by politics, not religion.

Neither claim is credible. A religion is defined not just by its holy texts but also by how believers interpret those texts — that is, by its practices. The ways in which believers act out their faith define that faith. The fact that Islamist extremists practice their religion in a manner abhorrent to liberals does not make that practice less real.

The separation of Church and State: In one of his famous letters, Thomas Jefferson remarked that in matters of religion the maxim of civil government should be reversed and we should rather say, “Divided we stand, united, we fall.”  In this, Jefferson was setting forth with classic terseness an idea that has come to be regarded as essentially American: the separation of Church and State. This idea was not entirely new; it had some precedents in the writings of Spinoza, Locke, and the philosophers of the European Enlightenment. It was in the United States, however, that the principle was first given the force of law and gradually, in the course of two centuries, became a reality. If the idea that religion and politics should be separated is relatively new, dating back a mere three hundred years, the idea that they are distinct dates back almost to the beginnings of Christianity.

Christians are enjoined in their Scriptures to “render ... unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's.”

While opinions have differed as to the real meaning of this phrase, it has generally been interpreted as legitimizing a situation in which two institutions exist side by side, each with its own laws and chain of authority — one concerned with religion, called the Church, the other concerned with politics, called the State. 

And since they are two, they may be joined or separated, subordinate or independent, and conflicts may arise between them over questions of demarcation and jurisdiction. This formulation of the problems posed by the relations between religion and politics, and the possible solutions to those problems, arise from Christian, not universal, principles and experience. 

There are other religious traditions in which religion and politics are differently perceived, and in which, therefore, the problems and the possible solutions are radically different from those we know in the West. Most of these traditions, despite their often very high level of sophistication and achievement, remained or became local — limited to one region or one culture or one people.

There is one, however, that in its worldwide distribution, its continuing vitality, its universal aspirations, can be compared to Christianity, and that is Islam. 

Islam is one of the world's great religions. Islam has brought comfort and peace of mind to countless millions of men and women. It has given dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives. It has taught people of different races to live in brotherhood and people of different creeds to live side by side in reasonable tolerance. It inspired a great civilization in which others besides Muslims lived creative and useful lives and which, by its achievement, enriched the whole world.

But Islam, like other religions, has also known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. It is our misfortune that part, though by no means all or even most, of the Muslim world is now going through such a period, and that much, though again not all, of that hatred is directed against us – the West and indeed their own, too as we are now seeing with the killing of others whom ISIS says are anti-Islam.

Related topics are (here) and (here): The summit takes place as conservatives criticize Obama for avoiding the term “Islamic extremism.” What if he were to say: “Christian extremism” when another Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph or Scott Roeder or Whitman on Campus in Texas pops up.  

In his Los Angeles Times op-ed, Obama says that groups like the Islamic State -- also known as ISIL -- as well as the Pakistan Taliban, al-Shabaab, and Boko Haram pervert religion with attacks in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, also he wrote in part:

“Groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims. The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam.”

Helping empower communities to protect their loved ones from extremist ideologies. The president also says "the world has to offer today's youth something better," including a guarantee of basic human rights.  The U.S. has made significant gains against terrorism by our efforts to decimate al-Qaeda leadership around the globe ever since 9/11. “The threat has evolved with murders of America citizens in places like Benghazi, Fort Hood, and Boston.

I add: It’s not Islam, the religion per se, it’s those who profess to practice it the way they say it should be practiced and the vast majority of those who are Muslims and practice Islam do not hold that view any more than Christians who would advocate for other Christians to kill a theatre full of people in Denver or blow up the Federal building in OK City.

Related to this topic from the Daily Beast here.

Enjoy the visit and research. Thanks for stopping by.

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