Monday, September 29, 2008

Islam 101

Thanks for the comments! I will post all comments, even if I disagree, as long as they are not making personal attacks and are in good taste. Just because different viewpoints are held does not make them wrong, nor does it make the person who holds them a liar nor do they make him/her evil.

Bernard Lewis is an internationally respected historian on the Middle East. "For the majority of the fourteen hundred years of Islamic history, jihad has been most commonly interpreted as being armed struggle for the advancement or defense of Muslim power". "The presumption is that the duty of jihad will continue (interrupted only by truces) until the entire world adopts Islam or is subjected to Muslim rule".

This is not the view of a few ‘extremists’. This was commonly accepted for a VERY long time. I would expect ANY viewpoint that has been so strong for so long to be retained by a significant percentage of ANY population for at least a number of generations after it fell into general disfavor. And I am not certain that this is the case regarding Islam and jihad.

I must disagree with Omyma’s comments regarding three concepts:

1) "The version you're exposed to is extreme Islam." I have read numerous positive articles and books about Islam. They all deal with the life of Mohammed and what a wonderful prophet he was. Many good lessons. The negative viewpoints tend to deal with the Koran and Islamic law. In other words, how Islam is practiced and enforced. This does not appear to be a few ‘extreme’ individuals, but general practice.

2) "They are 100% Fake Islam." This comment is in reference to al-Qaeda. The problem I have here is that ‘Fake Islam’ is popular in the Middle East. I am not referring to al-Qaeda in particular. I am referring to many of the principals they stand for. In many places throughout the Middle East, groups like Hamas and Hezbollah command significant support. In a number of cases, they are the MAJORITY. Not some insignificant minority like in the western world. In other cases where the ‘Fake Islam’ is a significant minority, the population tends toward violence when ‘insulted’. This may be ‘Fake Islam’ from your and my viewpoint, but in a population of hundreds of millions of people, it is ‘Real Islam’. (I am including those ‘good Germans, good Japanese and good southerners who like those who will fight for ‘Fake’ Islam, fought for evil.)

3) "Islam is not totally at odds with our culture." Islamic scholars have issued rulings based upon the Koran for 1400 years, in a way similar to our U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court. Many of the laws that are considered ‘authentic’ ARE directly in conflict with U.S. law and the U.S. Constitution. Much of the foreign policy that is specified in the Koran is hostile to our nation and our beliefs.

A classic example is ‘occupation’. By definition, all of the territory encompassed by the state of Israel is ‘occupied’ land. Once land is Muslim, it is ALWAYS seen in the eyes of Islam as being Muslim. (The penalty for leaving Islam is death) In 200 years, Israel (If it still exists) will still be sitting on ‘occupied’ land. Killing the ‘occupiers’ would be like Native Americans taking up arms against anyone who is not Native American because we are ‘occupiers’. In fact, we did take much of this land by force and we are ‘occupiers’. The problem is that sooner or later, it is in everyone’s best interest to accept fact and forget about the past. Islam has some mechanisms like jihad that prevents this and ensure that it grows and defends itself. Much like a nation-state.

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