Thursday, February 03, 2005

Islam is a Mystery

The common notion is that Islam is a religion. But it is not just a religion. It is a culture, an all-encompassing culture that transcends national boundaries, and rules some 22 nations in the Arab world alone. Islam has three branches, of which religion is but one, and right now, it is not the most dominant one. The other two are economics and politics. Politics now dominates Islam.

It’s adherents claim that the religious aspect of Islam is one of peace, but recent events call that claim into question. We’ve all seen the videos where Muslims are preparing to behead “infidels” and have heard and read the stories of this cruelty. Beheading those with whom you disagree, or those who do not subscribe to your narrow worldview, is anything but peaceful.

Under the dictates of the Islam most prevalent today, anyone who is not a Muslim is an “infidel,” and deserves death for his or her transgressions. Those transgressions mostly are nothing more than having a different point of view than do those Muslims.

Thus, Islam, in addition to being violent, is also intolerant. In the vernacular of the day, Islam says to the rest of the world, “It’s my way, or the highway,” and in this case “the highway” is death.

To the western mind, a philosophy that proscribes all other philosophies is irrational. Such a view puts Muslims in a special place, alone against the world.

But while Islam regards all non-Muslims as inferior, how do its adherents regard Muslims? Doesn’t it stand to reason that Islam regards Muslims as superior to infidels, thus worthy of respect and high regard? And if so, are they not worthy of protection by other Muslims?

If so, why does Islam tolerate Muslims who enslave, torture and kill other Muslims? What I am talking about is not a war between two Muslim nations, although one may justifiably wonder how Muslim nations can fight with each other, given the dictates of Islam. The question is, why does Islam tolerate and support tyrants like Saddam Hussein?

How does Islam rationalize this apparent philosophical contradiction: A Muslim man who is a brutal, ruthless dictator, subjecting other Muslims to torture, rape and murder is allowed to exist, and even be supported by other Muslims. This vile individual is not an enemy of Islam, and may be considered a hero. But a nation of “infidels” that helps to free enslaved and tortured Muslims is an enemy.

Clearly, Islam has its share of contradictions. However, the face Islam shows to the world today is the face of murder, of evil, of intolerance. I have been so strongly impressed by this evil face that I believe that we are in the early stages of a religious war against radical Islam.

I have been heartened somewhat by two things: 1) The Muslims that I know are good and decent people whose religious views do not mirror the narrow-minded and murderous view of the Muslim terrorists, and 2) the attitude displayed by freedom-loving Iraqis on the day of their first free election in 50 years, and since. Perhaps there is hope that the good and decent Muslims can and will take back their hijacked culture.

Islam is the fastest growing “religion” in the world, with 1.2 billion adherents, running (for the time being) a distant second to the world’s 2 billion Christians. A distant third is Hinduism at somewhere between 780 million to 900 million, depending upon which source you use. Judaism falls far down the list, with 14 million adherents. There are some 850 million people who identify themselves as Secular, Nonreligious, Agnostic or Atheist.

So, if Islam eventually becomes the belief system with the most adherents on Earth, which Islam will it be? Will it be the fanatical, intolerant, murderous, fundamentalist face of the terrorists? Or will the moderate elements of Islam regain control? They had better get to it, before events force non-Muslims to fight back, and the religious/cultural war begins to rage.

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