Thursday, July 07, 2005
Terrorist Attack on London
I have several things to say about the attack.
First of all my heart goes out to the people of London and of the British Isles who were just minding their own damn business and going to work. London is a world city and I know people who are frequently there, I have English friends and I have Irish friends who spend lots of time in London. So I am concerned for them. There is one of them I'm going to be in touch with to make sure she's o.k.
The places attacked are all familiar to me as I have spent time in London.
Here are some things to think about:
1. the fact the British have an excellent internal security police did not prevent it but I suspect without their internal security it might have been worse and it might have been sooner.It is a fact that the English are some of the best detectives there are and the British internal and external intelligence services are among the best in the world.
2. England itself has a LOT of these 'Islamist' extremist types, point of origin for these doctrines is in places formerly colonized by the United Kingdom, or formerly under their strong influence, and frankly the U.S. in their efforts to bring down the Soviet Union funded some of them at their outset. This was a dangerous strategy and we are now all liveing with the results.
3. On the news yesterday on NPR I heard that in Jordan, there was a council of Muslim clerics both Sunni and Shi'a, from all major schools of jurisprudence, the FIRST such conference to include both Sunni and Shi'a clerics and they roundly condemned the tendancy of people who have not taken the proper courses of study and who do NOT therefore have the authority to make fatwas makeing fatwas. A fatwa is a legal decision in Islamic jurisprudence, it's kind of like a non rabbi making a declaration of what is legal or illegal in Jewish law for just anybody to make a fatwa. Most non Muslims don't understand this I may be one of the few non Muslims to understand this. The news of this confrerence will be lost in the horror of what happened in London. That is tragic.
Because like many Christians, many Muslims are poorly educated about their own religion it is very easy for their ignorance to be taken advantage of for political reasons, as happens in the Christian world with extreme right wing fundamentalists who THINK they understand the Bible and the times of Jesus but who in fact usually don't understand these things at all. Mostly this ignorance is due to a failure (refusal?) to see that Christianity like Islam and Judaism is a religion of Middle Eastern origins.
Whenever you combine religion with ignorance you have as dangerous a combination as gasoline and a match, when you add outrage over cultural problems and even worse, outrage over economic problems, well then you have a combination as dangerous as the gasoline, the match and then lighting the match.
There has to be a special place in Hell for people who so callously exploit the ignorance and the sincere sentiments of the people who have a poor religious education,and/or a poor political education, and abuse the sincerity and the feelings of such people. That is so evil I do not have words for it and I don't give a damn what religion is involved.
I am not saying this out of any sort of appeasment mentality. I am merely stateing the causes that made such an opportunity for very evil people and I want to point out that the normal, decent community of Muslims are as disgusted as we in the West are by these horrendous attacks and by the exploitation of their religion.
There are people in that community speaking and more importanly ACTING against this.
Whatever reaction the West makes must help and foster this community and not give 'justification' for further attacks.
The first real mistake was that the West has been messing around too much in the Middle East. It was bad enough helping Israel, in a way though that to Arabs is understandable, and probably dropping support of Israel isn't going to convince anyone in the Arab world that we are anything but cowardly and not to be relied on. The Arabs generally understand loyalty and value it even when it is wrongly placed.
The mistake was to in large scale invade an Arab country, in the case of Iraq and a non Arab but Muslim country in the case of Afghanistan.
This is RADICALLY different from American involvement in Bosnia-Hercegovina or Kosovo. First of all in those cases Muslims are in those cases populations present long term within a small part of Europe.
It was a case of American and other Western power comeing to the RESCUE, and frankly not quite soon enough, but still to the rescue. This is entirely different from takeing revenge massively whether people were involved or not in the attacks on the West.
It's even radically different from any potential involvement in Darfur, where the situation is that Muslims of allegedly Arab descent are attacking and enslaveing Muslims who happen to be Black after haveing run out the very ancient community of Christians who lived there who are Black.
Incidentally Muhammed would have had nothing but disgust for this. He was not a raceist and he did not approve of attacking Christians simply for being Christians.
That said I have something to say to the terrorists:
The thing about what you see as Western corruptions are a matter of CHOICE, if you find a habit, a custom, or whatever unpleasant, reprehensible or against your convic tions, you do NOT have to do it! Western ways are NOT a matter of imposition,or compulsion, they are a matter of CHOICE. You can choose to live your way and the West can choose it's way. It's right there in the Koran, in one the verses 'There is no compulsion in religion to you your religion to us ours' It is about time you read your own Book and see that to force changes in the West is as pointless as the West forceing changes in the Middle East.
To attack the West in this way perpetuates a cycle of hate and violence that NO ONE needs or wants.Not you and not us.
It is as stupid as the Western presence in the Eastern world.
Speaking of this thing of presence where people are not comfortable, if the West is so obnoxious to you all then why are so many of you, so very many of you liveing in the United States, England, France, Spain? Germany? Holland? Should you all not live in your own countries? Some places in the Middle East approach the way of life you like go live in those places, or adapt as the Bosnian Muslims and the Kosovar Muslims did to the presence of other religions and ways of life.
This is not the same as assimilation, what this is hey here's the MAGIC WORD pay attention!
Tolerance is what I have to exercise every day when I see Christians ignorantly violateing correct Christian teaching, and correct Christian customs,
I have to do that EVERY day, and do it politely and civily besides. I recomend it as a higher and better demonstration and test of faith than takeing innocent lives, hey it's better even than takeing guilty lives!
God made life and liveing things, it is only God who has the right to take our life and if you really believe in God you would not take innocent life for any reason!
Even in the case of people who are what you consider guilty you would exercise forbearance.