I read Frank’s blog, cause he actaully posts some interesting material. On this one particular post, Frank links to a pretty interesting article about how a study of suicide bombers found that they were not the poorest of poor, and somewhat more educated than average, which runs a bit counter to my original thinking…
It was all good, until I read the first comment on the post. That royally pissed me off! Considering that the topic was economics and not religion. It still rankles me 4 days after the fact. You can read my response to that post from the link.
Out of respect to Frank, since it’s his blog, I’ve refrained from adding anymore comments, and I hope people will respect that wish as well. I’ll leave you with 2 links, and a response from Arif…
The Washington Post asks some panelists why people kill each other? Why do racial groups and ethnicities fight each other?
Arif’s response (tho I think he uses a bit too strong of wording in the first paragraph)….
I am a Muslim and I agree with and thank my good friend that people need to be more considerate of Islam and Muslims and their relationship to (or lack thereof) to terrorism. Those that do not just show how ignorant they can be. And of course it’s not entirely their fault when the media serves to perpetuate and glorify that ignorance. But it is not sufficient to just blame the media. Those that are ignorant should either educate themselves on the issues or shut up and save some face for themselves and those they embarrassingly represent.
People have made fun of this 72 virgin thing a lot and its motivation to terrorism. You have to get to heaven first before you get that and there nothing in Islamic teachings that says blowing yourself up (suicide) when you take out a bunch of other innocent lives (murder) will land you in heaven. Now the 72 virgins thing, is a contextual thing and likely figurative, but who really knows with religion… there are probably analogues of what rewards heaven brings in Christianity and Judaism, but in the end it the specifics do no matter, as long as those who believe are given some higher motivation to do what believers are supposed to do… be good righteous people according to the contexts of their belief system.
It’s true that most of the terrorism incidents we hear about these days involve Muslims, but it’s important to distinguish between politics and religion. Though Islam itself does bring the two together in certain cases, the manipulations certain people will make of their actions and followers to bring a greater cause to their political agendas do not necessarily mean that a religious belief system actually condones the actions under whose banner they fly. You want other examples of terrorism? The Crusades by the terrorist “Christians” against a flourishing Islamic society. The IRA in the 80’s in Northern Ireland. The Revolutionaries against the British Rule in the colonies. The Sandinistas. The Christian Right when they attack abortion clinics and murdered doctors performing them. Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of an FBI building. You get the picture. I don’t mean to point my finger to Christians per se, but those who wage terrorism under that label, hence the quotes. Obviously Christ preached a message that was the opposite of what those that fight under his name would use as their justification. Terrorists are terrorists, whether they call themselves Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, whatever. The former is a means, an action, while the former is a label used for a belief system. Because a terrorist labels themselves as such does not necessarily mean they are exemplars of the belief system.
Terrorism is a poor man’s war (though according to the article not literally poor), ie those that do not have the means or power support base to wage a full scale war on a sovereign but feel strongly about their ideology or political agenda. And it encompasses many different groups and many different motivations. There is no more legitimacy to a national war on the scale the US wages directly or indirectly than there is to terrorism, that a non sovereign group wages.
As to the concept Jihad that terrorist often ascribe their actions to, I think the vast majority of Muslims would and should believe that our true Jihad as Muslims is against those like Osama that threaten to bastardize and hijack our religion into a tool for their agenda. Jihad in a true Islamic sense is 1. the internal struggle within yourself to be the best practicing and believing Muslim you can be, 2. the defense of your personal body and that of all others around you from harm of an attacker, and 3. the defense of the religion and its ideology from those who seek to destroy or harm it. Nothing in there legitimizes killing innocents for your cause religious or not.