The roots of fanaticism

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Rage, May 5, 2009.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    The roots of fanaticism

    By Iqbal Jafar
    Monday, 04 May, 2009 | 01:39 AM PST


    IN this age of turbulence there is much that one would like to wish away, most of all the rise of the irrational in the form of religious fanaticism. It has, over the years, tiptoed into our lives, almost surreptitiously, and has now grown into a full-blown storm raging across the world.

    Caught in the eye of this storm is Islam. The creed of militant Islam grew in response to the challenge of western imperialism that began its successful trajectory of dominance in the 17th century and remained in place until the late 20th century. But there are good reasons to argue that western imperialism did not come to an end when its last outpost in the Muslim world, Brunei, gained independence in 1984. The invasion of Iraq in 1991 and again in 2003, of Afghanistan in 2001, and the presence of western forces in the Gulf states reinforces that argument.

    Militant Islam, thus, remains on the warpath against the West and has, in the process of humiliating failures, developed a vengeful creed that has even suspended the Islamic rules of engagement by introducing such horrors as suicide bombings, indiscriminate killing of innocent men, women and children, kidnapping, even drug peddling to finance their struggle (jihad) ‘for the glory of Islam’. So much for the believers.

    Next, the detractors of Islam. The extent to which Islam has been demonised in the West is unbelievable. Let me pick just a few examples. According to Franklin Graham, son and successor of Billy Graham, Islam is “a very evil and very wicked religion”. Televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have used epithets for the Prophet (PBUH) that cannot be repeated. Even Pope Benedict XVI jumped into the fray with his oblique criticism of the Prophet in his much-debated address at Regensburg University.

    Islamophobia has also been spread by means other than harsh denunciations of Islam. For example, Bernard Lewis, an eminent historian and adviser to many US administrations, took another route to frighten the Europeans and others by making an astonishing claim that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century “at the very latest”. He said that in the German daily DieWelt in 2004, and again in the Jerusalem Post in 2007. Maybe it is because of such frightening prospects (for the Europeans) that the Kristiansand Progress Party of Norway, the most liberal and tolerant country in the world, wants Islam banned in Norway.

    How inflammable the prejudice against Islam has become is best illustrated by the controversies over the Danish cartoons and the hijab. The blasphemous cartoons published by a Danish newspaper and gleefully reproduced by other newspapers elsewhere in Europe drew huge protests from all over the Muslim world. Those protests were ignored and even ridiculed on grounds of freedom of media, of expression, of faith etc etc. But it so happens that the same Danish newspaper had earlier refused to print a disrespectful cartoon of Jesus Christ because, the editor explained, there would be an “outcry” from the conservative readers. Now, how say you, members of the jury?

    The matter of the hijab is simpler and, one should have thought, inconsequential. But inconsequential though it is, the hijab is seen in Europe as a threat to European values and culture. No less. But has it not occurred to the defenders of the European culture that there is hardly any difference between the hijab and a nun’s wimple? I am not in favour of the hijab myself, nor, perhaps, are the vast majority of Muslims, but the Pope, it seems, is.

    Now, where do these mutually reinforcing impulses of hate and prejudice between religions spring from? The answer to this question lies in the sustained effort by thousands of authors, reporters, columnists, anchor-persons, priests and politicians to locate the cause of the Muslim militancy in Islam itself. Hence the derogatory views about Islam and its Prophet. And hence the spiralling intensity of hate and prejudice between religions. Buried beneath the swelling mountain of paperwork and angry sound bites is the real cause of the conflict: occupation of Muslim lands by others.

    As I argued elsewhere there are seven lands that have been under foreign occupation for some time (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Mindanao and the Golan Heights) and all seven of them belong to disinherited Muslims of these lands that are occupied by Christians, Jews or Hindus. Such a configuration of the occupiers and the occupied cannot but evolve into a clash of religions.

    It is somewhat ironical that terrorism as a political weapon was invented by none other than the Jews themselves more than 2,000 years ago when Judah the Galilean organised a band of fighters, the Zealots, against the Roman forces of occupation. The Zealots had an arm of terrorists called the Sicarri by the Romans because they carried hidden daggers for assassination. The Israeli terrorist gangs, Irgun and Stern, were its modern successors. The Irish Republican Army and Tamil Tigers are the Christian and Hindu versions, respectively, of political terrorists. All of them have also been called freedom fighters.

    What can be inferred from this 2,000-year-old history of political terrorism is that even if fuelled by religious fanaticism, it is motivated by an intensely felt political injustice as in the case of the Zealots, Irish Republican Army, Tamil Tigers, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Robert A. Pape, a leading authority on terrorism, who has compiled a vast database of every suicide attack around the world from 1980 and has analysed the cause and motivation behind each terrorist attack, concludes in his book Dying to Win that those willing to die may have different personal motivations (religion, social prestige, revenge) but “what cuts across these various personal situations is the common motive to end the threat of a foreign occupation”.

    The militants are, thus, fighting on two fronts: against the occupiers of Muslim lands, for political reasons; and against the liberals within Muslim societies, for ideological reasons. The popularity of their struggle against the occupation of Muslim lands gives them an edge over the liberals, and makes their ideological struggle for an orthodox and obscurantist version of Islam politically feasible.

    Hence, so long as Muslim lands remain under the occupation of others, militants will be seen as freedom fighters and liberals as collaborators of the West. The West should not, therefore, expect to eliminate the militants while it remains in possession of Muslim lands. As pointed out by Robert Pape, terrorism is “mainly a demand-driven, not a supply-limited phenomenon”. As for the liberals, they will be lucky if they merely cease to be relevant.


    DAWN.COM | Editorial | The roots of fanaticism
     
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  3. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    First, why is Kashmir? As far I know no uslim was 'disinherited'. Rather it was Pundits who were pushed out.

    Second, a little knowledge is always dangerous thing. How much Koran did Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, or mr. Graham read?

    Third, Hijab is never inconsequential. As far I know Norway or any other scandinavian nations was never conquered by Muslims. So, it used to be strictly christian country. The muslim there mainly areSomali, Arab, Albanian, and Turkish immigrants and comprises only 1.7%. The natives have their own life-style and social acceptability. They don't feel comfortable watching a woman in Hijab, particularly since unlike nuns who are accepted as specially different than a common people, the hijab-wearing woman also claims to be common citizen. Open show of affection like kissing, hugging is pretty common in Europe, even nudity is pretty common in there. Will those be acceptable in any Islamic country? No. This sort of action will lead to persecution in ANY Islamic country. Even stoning, beheading in some. Then why are they crying when natives and hugely majority of a country doesn't want hijab. Hijab also represents the uncomfortable fact that how different they are and a reminder of terrorism worldwide. Heck I feel uncomfortable with hijab where I'd studied in a college where muslims are mejority and hijab is pretty common!

    Islam in Europe: Norway: Muslim girls beaten for not wearing the hijab
    Islam in Europe: Norway: 'Norway shouldn't be more Pakistani than Pakistan'
    Islam in Europe: Norway: Islamic Council says female agents shouldn't arrest men

    Fourth, The newspaper didn't publish Jesus cartoon in fear of huge outcry by Christians as Christians are majority subscriber. I guess it was strictly a business decision. Where as the hijab cartoon hardly hurts the business, even more is a good publicity. On the same note christian world was vocal against 'passion of Christ' and 'Da Vinchi Code', but they were still released. There's Meghnad Badh Kabya which is sort of reverse Ramayana and Meghnad (Raban's son) was the hero - we had that in our study syllabus!

    Fifth, Jew was the closest to Islam in regard of radicalism. But did Sicarris killed innocent romans regardless of their importance? IRA and tigers' effort was undoubtedly motivated by political goal, but they didn't attack in innocent people of other lands. IRA attacked Britain and Tigers attacked India, both cases the primary antagonist. Where as muslim terrorism spread through everywhere - eg. Milan bombing.

    Six, modern economic imperialism is cast as villain through out the islamic world. Agreed. But what happens if west pulls back completely? What happened when west (read USA) pulled back from Afghanistan after Soviet retreat. Talibans rose and pushed the country centuries backward.
     
  4. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Excellent points, a valid counter-argument. That was the purpose of this thread: to engender a discussion about the fundamental causes and inducements of an extremist mindset.
     
  5. rocky

    rocky New Member

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    The article is show shallow and loosely defined that it will not hold its ground for even a minute in any circles.

    The Author says there are 7 lands that belong to Muslims that have disputes and that is why we have all this Islamic terrorism in the world. This is utter nonsense. There are conflicts all over the world over territory. Example of few would be China - Tiawan, China - India, China - Vietnam Srilanka ( Singhala - Tamil) Thailand, Great Britain ( N Ireland) Argentina - UK ( Flaklands) etc etc....

    No other place except the places that author mentions have we seen terrorism being used as a justified ( justified by religion) tool to get ones purpose solved.

    Disputes are not because of hate for religion becase we can see that almost all religion of world are represented in above disputes including Christians Hindu's Buddhist's atheist communist etc so just saying Muslims are targetted is looking at selective facts.

    The reason people call it Islamic Terrorism is becase these guys are fighting under the banner of Islam. They are justifying their acts with Islamic teaching (right or wrong is seperate discussion). When India China have arguments over Tibet or Arunachal it is more on geography & ethinicity so that is why it is not designated as religious thing. Same with Tamil & Sinhala issue is not based on either religion it is purely linguistic / ethnic issue.

    So instead of making pan islamic issues we should look at them as India Pak issue Israel Palestine issue, Chechniya is Russia's internal issue same as they have problems with Ukraine Georgia and host of USSR countries.
     

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