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Saturday, September 16, 2006

War in the name of Islam?

Understanding Islam

Q4. It is hundreds of years since Christians waged war in the name of Christianity whereas a small number of Islamists still use their religion as a basis for aggression. It may well be that a great preponderance of wars in the last couple of centuries have been instigated by people who profess to be Christians but none that I am aware of have done so under the banner of their religion alone. Why has Christianity moved away from religious justification for war whereas Islam is still being used by some in this way? Stephen Salmon, Telford, Shropshire

A. This is the big question right now. The concept of being a Muslim transcends nation and ethnicity. What differentiates Muslims is only culture, the nation state is a relatively recent development. Christianity experienced a reformation around five hundred years ago with people either having to align to the king or the pope. There is no separation between church and state in Islam. Muslims are fighting non-Muslims because they perceive Islam to be under siege, and historically that is justification to carry out Jihad - the reactive and proactive defence of Islam. However, in the current period this action is political and not necessarily theological. The concerns emerge because of the experience of colonialism in the past and systematic economic, political and social oppression more recently.

The Pope is right about Islam by Jim Kouri

Practitioners of Islam are today involved in conflagrations throughout the world. Here are a few violent conflicts occurring today:

*The continued battle in Iraq has morphed from the deposing of a dictator into civil unrest by opposing sects of Islam, as well as Al-Qaeda terrorists who believe in an Islamic mission of world domination.
* In Afghanistan, the remnants of the radical Islamic groups the Taliban and Al-Qaeda continue to wreak havoc in that fledgling democracy.
* In Somalia, Islamists have all but overthrown a newly formed government. These Islamists have been responsible for not only violence, but also the starvation of the Somali people. The unrest is growing, with neighboring Ethiopia becoming involved in the armed conflict.
* In India, a predominately Hindu nation, Islamists have conducted terrorist attacks and Kashmir remains a region of violent contention by Islamic and Hindu residents.
* Terrorist attacks have occurred in Spain and Europe. The one armed conflict occurring in Russia is perpetuated by Islamists. In one attack, these Muslim terrorist invaded a school and brutally murdered children.
* Recently Hamas and Hezbollah picked a fight with Israel and then portrayed themselves as victims, with practically the whole world playing along.

Add the Islamic terrorist operations in the Philippines, Indonesia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc., and it is clear to most observers that there exists an asymmetric war being waged by those whose religion-ideology favors Medina over Mecca.

There is nothing new with large scale violence perpetrated by Muslims. At the end of the 19th Century, a man arose who claimed he was the Mahdi (The Guided One) — the one promised by Mohammad — who would unite the Islamic world either peacefully or through violence and then conquer the world for Allah’s paradise.

This Mahdi created a massive army of followers who decided on the way to worshipping in Damascus — and while there, occupying Syria — they would overthrow the governments of the Sudan, Egypt and other nations. When the Mahdi wiped out a modern army in the desert and then invaded Khartoum, the British found it necessary to send a large force to stop him and his murderous Dervish.

In Gaza, two churches were fire bombed by Palestinians who were outraged over the Pope’s comments. That from practitioners of the “religion of peace.”

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