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Using Faith To Validate Extremism


Using faith to validate extremism
Clifford D. May

[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]August 5, 2005

[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]The Spanish Inquisition, the Thirty-Years-War, John Brown’s Pottawatomie Massacre, the terrorist attacks of the Irish Republican Army, the Oklahoma City bombing — these are just a few examples of violence carried out by extremists who found inspiration in their Christian faith.
Jewish radicals have justified violence against Arabs by citing the “holy war” that God commanded Israel to wage against the Canaanites for possession of the Promised Land. As recently as 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a deeply religious Jew, murdered 29 Muslims worshipping in a mosque in Hebron.
The kamikazes of World War II were religiously motivated. And it was members of Aum Shrinrikyo, an offshoot of Japanese Buddhism, who released vials of poisonous gas into the Tokyo subway in 1995.
There have been Hindu terrorists (the word “thug” originally referred to those who murdered to honor the Hindu goddess Kali); also Sikh suicide bombers.
So those who think Islam is the only religion that gives rise to extremism and carnage need to think again.
But let’s be clear, Islam is not – as has been repeatedly claimed -- a “religion of peace.” Indeed, the idea is absurd, considering that Islam’s founding prophet also was a warrior -- among the most successful in history, establishing an empire ranging from Spain to the South Pacific.
Nor did Osama bin Laden “hijack” Islam – any more than Hitler hijacked Germanic culture or Lenin hijacked the Russian ethos. Rather, Hitler and Lenin drew upon the ugliest threads in their nations’ fabrics. So, too, has bin Laden invoked Islam’s most radically xenophobic doctrines to legitimize a vicious assault against all those who refuse to accept his authority, all those he demonizes as “infidels.”
Today, the overwhelming majority of modern Christians reject such religiously based fanaticism as that represented by the Ku Klux Klan and Timothy McVeigh. Most Jews condemn religious extremists like Meir Kahane.
But while recent polls have found support for suicide bombing declining in most Muslim countries, it is still far from clear that most Muslims unequivocally reject those who murder children in the name of Islam and Islam’s many grievances.
And that will not become clear as long as commentators on Arab television praise the killers of Iraqi civilians. It will not be clear as long as Muslim clerics in the holy city of Mecca continue to call for “jihad” against the West.
The West “doesn't want us even to say the words 'Allah's enemies,” the Saudi cleric Musa Al-Qarni groused recently on Saudi government television. “They don't want us to say that the Jews and the Christians are the enemies of the Muslims and the enemies of Islam.” But, he added: "This is fixed and established in the Koran...”
Hateful rhetoric and incitement to terrorism also can be heard on al-Manar, Hezbollah’s television station, from Iran’s ruling mullahs and even from the Palestinian Authority under “moderate” President Mahmoud Abbas. “By Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again,” the PA’s Sheikh Ibrahim Muayris said last month.
There are moderate, reformist voices of Islam but so far they are neither as loud nor as forceful as those of Wahabbism, a fundamentalist strain of Islam that emerged in 18th century Arabia. A bargain struck between the Wahhabis and the House of Sa’ud led to the rise, in the 20th century, of what we now call the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Wahhabis gave religious sanction to the House of Sa’ud; in exchange, Saudi princes have generously funded the Wahhabis, drawing upon enormous wealth derived from selling Arabia’s oil to infidels.
To be fair, though Wahhabi proselytizing has always been noxious, it generally stopped short of calls for a full-blown holy war against the Saudis’ best customers and frequent protectors, Britain and the United States. What changed that? Ideas that were blended with Wahhabism beginning early in the 20th century, ideas inspired in large measure by the Nazi, Fascist and Communist movements, ideas promoted by such radical groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and such radical theorists as Sayyid Qutb.
The point is this: As Christian behavior need not be modeled on Torquemada, as Jews needn’t emulate the Zealots, as there is nothing in Shinto or Buddhism to prevent Japan from living in peace with its neighbors, so too Muslims need not embrace an interpretation of their religion that is hateful, barbaric and incompatible with freedom, democracy and human rights.
It is not inevitable that Muslims will, as bin Laden predicts, join him in an apocalyptic clash of civilizations, intended to return the world to the 7th Century as fanatics dream it must have been. There is an alternative to a Muslim war against the Free World: Muslims can join the Free World instead. Neither Islam nor any other great religion has always been peaceful in the past. But it should not take a prophet to see the need for tolerance, pluralism and peaceful coexistence in our future.

[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Clifford D. May is the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and a Townhall.com member group.[/FONT]
> Today, the overwhelming majority of modern Christians reject
>such religiously based fanaticism as that represented by the
>Ku Klux Klan and Timothy McVeigh.

Hoo boy, I beg to differ:

"If we are going to save America and evangelize the world, we cannot accommodate secular philosophies that are diametrically opposed to Christian truth." -- Jerry Falwell

"What this is coming down to is who runs the country. It's us against them. It's the good guys versus the bad guys. It's the God-fearing people against the pagans, and some of the pagans are going to church." -- Randall Terry

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism." -- Randall Terry

"When I, or people like me, are running the country, you'd better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we'll execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed." -- Randall Terry, on doctors who perform abortions

The question is this: How could any Christian harbor and support, whether directly or indirectly, a man who is responsible for the deaths of two human beings (one a police officer) and the wounding of over 150 others? Aren't we fighting a war against terrorism? Why are Christians so unwilling to see Eric Rudolph as a Terrorist? And how could anyone help him evade the law?" -- Wicasta Lovelace

A cult is any group that has a form of godliness, but does not recognize Jesus Christ as the unique son of God.... One test of a cult is that it often does not strictly teach that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God who Himself is God manifested in the flesh.... Christian-oriented cults include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), the Worldwide Church of God, Christian Science, Unity, Unitarianism, The Way International, Rosicrucian Society of America, Bahai, Hare Krishna, Scientology, the Unification Church, and the Jehovah's Witnesses." -- Pat Robertson

God does not want us to be corrupted by close relationships with unbelievers. The fact is, if someone is not for God then they are against Him. You cannot be neutral with God. You're either on His side or on the side of the enemy.
For these reasons, I think it is also wise to not constantly surround yourself with unsaved friends....
... Non-Christians are very critical of hypocrisy in Christians, ..." --- Advice columnist Christy Shipe
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Mind you, I am very much NOT anti-Christian, just anti-fundamentalist no matter the religion or political philosophy. Fudamentalism basically states "my view is completely right, yours is completely wrong" and this type of reasoning can and does lead to murder, genocide, gynocide, terrorism and brutal dictatorships.

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This brings me to a related subject if I may expound!

Over this weekend I was talking to a Catholic freind of mine, he was telling me of his disgust with the Catholic church, and how he does not see himself a a true Catholic as per the church.

Now his thoughts and feelings I had great sympothy for, and in every way his problems and solutions with the Catholic church made a lot of sense, if we speak from a humane perspective.

The I got to thinking about how, why and wether the Catholic church should update it self.

The thing with this is that according to the Catholic faith the Bible is the word of God, so to update the church, in order to make it relevent to today, and todays spirtuality would altimatley mean changing or discarding part of the Bible.

Fine for me, I have read the Bible, and personly I don't put great stock in a great part of, but for a Christian it is a differant story.

How would we Sikhs cope with calls to change or abandone altogether parts of Guru Granth Sahib?

Well of course the answer to that is not very well. So then how can we reasonbly ask a Christian, or a Muslim even in the interests of modernising the faith to do the same?

The answer to that also would seem to be a big we can't. It's huge thing to ask of any one of any faith, because it both calls into question the source of that faith, and validity of that source.

So to bring the subject back to the original subject, if these extreamists of whatever faith have scripture that backs up their claims, then without calling into question that scripture what can we do?


I think the problem with many christians is that they go by traditions instead of the bible. There are many denominations in christianity each one believeing differently than the other on many major things. Many take one line or passage out of context without even reading the other verses before or after to even see what content is being talked about. Take for example the commandment Thou shall not kill. Sounds good but then later you see that killing is punishable by death. It would read like a contradiction but when you look a little deeper you would see that the commandment is better translated as Thou shall not murder. Murder in the old testament was described as lying in wait and killing someone for a reason beyond self defense. And that's just one example of the many things that divide the christian church in these times. There is huge infighting within the denominations. That is how some people decide to help a murderer who kills abortion doctors. Instead of going about the lawful way and having the law changed he takes the law into his own hand. Christians are supose to follow the laws of the land they live in.

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Those who HIDE Behind Religion to justify their own "closed minds" are present in every religion...and in every society. They will always be there as a fringe...the trick is by the MAJORITY to ASSERT its AUTHORITY and silence this lunatic fringe.

This doesnt seem to be happening in the Muslim World... The Moderates, the Islam Hadhiri is simply not there. IN "public" they make statements condemning the terrorists..but in private they endorse their actions and make them heroes.

The Musim Moderates must assert themsleves..they are in the Majority..they must behave like the majority and expose the lunatic fringe.

Jarnail Singh
To Defend Self , the human heings have the innate ability to Defend from others .

A human being becomes more defensive when he/she is criticized and condemned.

Criticizism and Defensive mechanism are directly propotional to each other.

This defensive mechanism in human beings along with weak belief and faith within the human being forces him/her to be fanatic or extremist.

Such people don't know how to Synchoronize themselves with the nature.

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