Monday, July 18, 2005
Joh Domingo - Shock & Awe in London
It seems that there are no limits to Muslim skullduggery; Islam manufactures an endless stream of people willing to annihilate themselves and those in close proximity to them. The evidence mounts in a never-ending daily spiral of attacks; against all and sundry; as if the self-immolation bug and an irrepressible urge to kill their fellow human beings have infected Muslims. It is as if nothing can explain it, not even the moderate Muslims that risk physical injury to themselves in their efforts to denounce the evident craziness, and their contortions to explain the ‘distortions’ that give rise to the phenomena, and apportion blame to the occasional misfit that Islam produces.
Exactly what is being distorted is never actually explained. What a host of Islamic leaders, and non-Islamic leaders, seem to suggest is that something mysterious is afoot: there are teachings within Islam that can be twisted in such a manner as to give rise to a cult that slaughters people, for no reason other than to terrorize them. The distorterers know no bounds, and apparently rationalize the killing of Muslim and non-Muslim alike, believers and unbelievers, in a nihilistic campaign to rid themselves, and those they kill, of oppression. What makes it worse is that the distorterers have apparently mastered the art of mass hypnosis; inducing a trance-like state is fellow Muslims that cause them to slip into a state of denial, disclaiming what is patently obvious: Muslims are killing themselves and in the process mass-murdering countless others, in a daily barrage that offends the senses, and banishes religious ethics and morality. What can explain it, and why the lame excuses from the Muslim community?
The answer is quite simple; Muslims, like all communities, are subject to bias, and filter the information into digestible chunks. They are hardwired to separate the issues, and recognize legitimate activity from illegitimate activity. More importantly, they do not believe the reports coming at them in an endless stream. It is like watching a movie about cowboys and Indians, when you are a Native American living in a White Man’s world. You instinctively reject the bull made for the bigoted audience, and events assume a surreal quality because what is being portrayed, and the characters, is so alien to anything you have ever known. Muslims instinctively know that the truth is not what it seems; and believe fervently that it will come out in the end. Quite clearly Islam produces its share of misfits, but the scale and number of incidents are beyond belief, and are an indication that something else is afoot; especially in Iraq.
I am a born Muslim, and have lived amongst, and known Muslims all my life. I have known all kinds: Devout, atheist Muslim, agnostic Muslim, Fanatical Muslim; but by far the majority of Muslims I have known are what I would call nominal Muslims; they believe, but restrict the practice of religion to the barest necessary to still call themselves Muslim. They are cultural Muslims; brought up within the traditions of Islam, most with a strong Islamic education, but unable, or unwilling, to diligently practice the strict tenets of their religion. I count myself as being a member of the latter. There were periods where I was more devout than other periods, but in the main, I have adhered to a mere cultural practice of my religion. Never once, in all my fifty years on in this world, has anyone suggested that I was not a Muslim, and never once have I heard of anyone being excommunicated from Islam for non-adherence to the tenets of Islam.
I have heard reports of communities who practice an austere form of Islam, and who enforce the tenets of Islam, but have discounted the reports in their entirety because they usually stem from non-Islamic sources who more often than not, do not understand what the tenets of Islam are. They are five: Prayer, Fasting, Zakaat (Charity), Shahada (the belief in one God), and Haj (Pilgrimage). Wearing of Hijab, prohibiting Women from participating fully in society, Circumcision, Female genital Mutilation, Shariah,, military Jihad and any of the hodge-podge of issues that form the bulk of Western reportage on Islam are cultural/political/social CHOICES made by the various Islamic communities around the world. They are not what makes one a Muslim. The single tenet that makes one a Muslim is the belief in one God. Whether one diligently practices the other four tenets of Islam is a matter of personal devotion. No Islamic authority can enforce them, and I have never heard of it being enforced except for some dubious reports coming out of Taliban Afghanistan prior to 9/11. Every Muslim understands this; almost no non-Muslim I have met understands it. There is no compulsion in Islam.
The proponents of the distortion theory are short on examples of what exactly is being distorted. There is no shortage of anti-Islamic material that give multiple staccato-like examples of passages from the Quran that purport to represent teachings that justify the slaughter of innocents. No Muslim interprets these passages this way, not even the most fanatical and radical practitioners of the religion; it is simply not a credible assertion that any Muslim takes seriously, although its credibility has enormous currency amongst non-Muslims. Most Muslims, when presented with ‘evidence’ that the high priests of ‘Radical Islam’; Osama Bin Laden, uses such justification, either decline to enter into discussion about it; since it leads inevitably into a discussion about ‘Conspiracy Theories’, if one is at least skeptical about the myth surrounding this man; or indulge in mealy-mouthed denouncements that such teachings go against the teachings of Islam, if one wholeheartedly swallows the western interpretations of events.
It is time ‘Moderate Muslims’ tell the truth: we don’t believe your stories, are suspicious of your motives, and it is time you substantiated in an open and transparent way, the assertions you have been making about Islam, Muslims, and the actions of Islamic radical misfits whose activities have upset you so. Logic dictates that a rapprochement between the West and Islamic societies is in order, if offense has been created by the activities of the ‘radical elements’ in Islamic societies, since it is Muslims who bear the brunt of purported Western efforts to counter the effects of radical Islamic revolution.
But such an effort hinges on honesty from all parties. It is inconceivable for a Muslim to accept that Muslims are targeting Mosques, even the mosques of Shi’ites, as is happening with monotonous regularity in Iraq. Even Iraqi Shi’ites are skeptical about these claims. These events fortify our suspicions that something else is afoot. Any insurgent guerilla army relies on the (at least tacit) support of the population. Without it, they are doomed. No Muslim, whether Sunni or Shia, would support a group that targets mosques; to believe otherwise is to believe in the most preposterous conspiracy theory of them all. Likewise, while attempts have been made to justify suicide bombing on Islamic grounds in Palestine, and in particular the use of that tactic by the Islamist party Hamas, these tactics have in no way been endorsed by Islamic Jurist, either Shia or Sunni. The oppression of the Palestinians by Israel has been so revolting, that Muslims have declined to pass judgement on the Palestinians for their transgressions. This has been used as evidence that Muslims support Suicide bombing, but nothing could be further from the truth. Muslims have suspended judgement on the matter, in the face of the desperation of the Palestinian people. Until Muslim can offer some relief, they do not have the moral authority to preach to the Palestinian people. It has become a matter between them and God.
The recent events on 7/7/05 in London bear all the hallmarks of fueling the seemingly never-ending jihad against Muslim communities in the Middle East and elsewhere. In response to the fusillade of invective being directed against the Muslim community and the religion of Islam in the West in the wake of the Bombings in London, Muslim community leaders have been at pains to distance their religion and their communities from these acts. Such an act can legitimately be described as ‘terrorism’. However, in doing so they have inevitably given currency to the idea that Islam, at least in an ideological manner, has provided the basis upon which the perpetrators have justified their actions. They have done so in the face of seemingly overwhelming evidence, as reported by the mass media that Muslims were indeed responsible for these acts, and that they knowingly destroyed the calm, and the lives of the victims. It is hard to discern the facts, only to speculate and run the risk of being perceived to be rationalizing terrorism. They cannot be blamed for acting preemptively, in the face of a real threat their communities are facing; but such statements could have a worse, longer-term effect: It cements the perception in the wider Western community that Islam does indeed bear a fundamental guilt for violent acts against western societies - A perception that seems almost impossible to counter.
Far from it being an open and shut case, appearances can be deceptive. An event like this is never as clear-cut as it first seems, and theories abound, most of them conspiracy theories. But it is obvious that a conspiracy exists by a segment within Western society to milk this event to generate as much hatred against Muslims in general as possible. They are confident that the obvious perpetrators come from within the Muslim community - That a terrorist act like this would generate the usual suspect. It is not inconceivable that since such an outcome is predictable, a Muslim perpetrator would have been conscious of it and that it would be a factor that would weigh on his/their mind. We are being asked to discard the effect such knowledge would have had on their intentions. We are also being asked to accept that the certitude Islam would be blamed does not occur to those that manufactured lies that has directly led to the slaughter London two-thousand fold in Iraq, and exacted London two-hundred fold in dead American military flesh. It is beyond comprehension that this possibility is not being seriously discussed, let alone being examined by the authorities investigating the bombings.
But process is being inverted, and the only certainty seems to be that Islam has somehow been ‘distorted’, the effect of which is that a group of Muslim misfits have killed a lot of people. But statistics would show that it is the husband/wife that killed the spouse, not the intruder. Most law enforcement personnel are trained to have the closest family member at the top of the suspect list. That the spouse should be the first to be investigated and ruled out as a suspect before the investigation is to proceed any further. Has it been ruled out that any maverick, homegrown quasi-official group is not responsible for the bombings? Has it been ruled out that the suspected bombers are not in fact victims of the bombs? It may be wishful thinking, but it would be nice to know procedure is being followed before we go racing around defending Islam, which should not be on the suspect list in the first place.