Terrorism: What Are We Really Figthing?

by Caela

Around the world, there have been an uproar on Fitna and Geert Wilders. Some condemn, some agree, some mere acknowledge his right to say what he has to say and some simply dismiss. In a previous entry, I discussed the issues surrounding the Fitna and Wilders. However, those are not the most pressing problem here. The problem that demands to be addressed is that of which the film Fitna forces upon us: Who/What exactly are against us and who/what are we against?

What we are against here is not a religion. It is the ideology that religion can be used to justify violence, inequality, etc., the misuse of religion and knowledge. The Sharia is a mere interpretation of the Qur’an, it is not static set but more like a system of laws based on the interpretation of the Qur’an. And as with any written document the Qur’an can be twisted/interpreted in a way that serves the purpose of interpretation. Same thing can be done with any other sacred text or even any other written constitution.

The King James Version Bible contains these verses:

In Leviticus 25:44-46, the Lord tells the Israelites it’s OK to own slaves, provided they are strangers or heathens.

In Samuel 15:2-3, the Lord orders Saul to kill all the Amalekite men, women and infants.

In Exodus 15:3, the Bible tells us the Lord is a man of war.

In Numbers 31, the Lord tells Moses to kill all the Midianites, sparing only the virgins.

In Deuteronomy 13:6-16, the Lord instructs Israel to kill anyone who worships a different god or who worships the Lord differently.

In Mark 7:9, Jesus is critical of the Jews for not killing their disobedient children as prescribed by Old Testament law.

In Luke 19:22-27, Jesus orders killed anyone who refuses to be ruled by him.

Many of these seeming cruelties disappear when read in proper context. However, this would not stop a Christian terrorist from interpreting the Bible in a manner necessary to concoct a religious justification for unspeakable horrors as Pope Urban II did when he preached the First Crusade in 1095 or as many American preachers did when they used Leviticus to defend slavery.

Does this mean that we ought to ban the Bible as well? Of course not! Does this mean that we should be against Christianity as well? Of course not! And if someone uses these verses to propagate hate and violence, does this mean that Christianity is the problem? Of course not!

The point here is: whatever religion can be used by the truly creative and determined mind to spread enmity and discord, hate and violence. What we are against is the ideology that anything justifies taking the lives of innocent human beings, the ideology that a book written thousands of years ago justifies that some people are superior to others.

It is not Islam that is the problem, it is the way that Islam is used to justify hate and violence. The Holocaust remains wrong and will always be wrong, as it will always be wrong to wage a war against a religion, whatever religion.

Unless all parties acknowledge this, one side will always think that religion is the cause or that the other side are bound to think they are being provoked. And in the end, we all lose and those who wish to propagate hate, violence and terror are the only ones who win.

The real problem is that it is hard to defeat an ideology because it is like a multi-headed serpent who will only regenerate no matter how many heads you cut off. We can of course hope that fostering religious tolerance and understanding will be enough. But we might find that extremists and fanatics are not the patient lot who will sit around listening to other faiths. The problem is many fanatics of different religions like to talk and they usually don’t listen don’t listen.

In a way both of sides speak sense: those against says Islam is being used to justify violence and terrorism and the Muslim community insist they are being misunderstood. Unless they are prepared to hear each other out, we’re pretty much doomed to kingdom come.

We all have the right to free speech, to chose to subscribe to any belief (or non-belief), to live, to pretty much live our lives as we wish to (as long as we do not step on other people’s rights) and to have our belief respected. And under the law, every man is equally granted these rights. What we do not have a right to is to kill and terrorize innocent people.

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