Monday, March 27, 2017

Blaming Islam

There is an assumption in many conservative circles, and some unease even in liberal circles, about whether there is something unique in Islam that results in the terrorism we see today.  Both point to some passages in the Quran that seem to advocate violence.  David Shariatmadari has a well-reasoned post in the Guardian explaining why it is geopolitics, and not religion, that best explains Jihadist violence:
Let’s assume for a moment, then, that Islam is especially predisposed towards violence. If that’s your view, then you’ll need to show why the history of jihadi terrorism is so very short: this is emphatically a late 20th and early 21st century phenomenon, yet Islam has been around since the seventh century.

What about its wars of conquest? Well they definitely happened, but not in a way that marks Islam out from other cultures. The subsequent wave of imperial expansionism came via the sky-worshipping Mongols, before they settled down to become Muslims. Not only that, the dominant military powers since the 17th century have been Christian – and they often regarded themselves as having an explicitly religious mission.

Aspects of Islamic teaching do indeed justify some kinds of violence. Islam isn’t a pacifist religion. But again, it has this in common with Christianity, Judaism and other world faiths. Since that’s the case, and since we know that violence in the name of Islam has waxed and waned, it follows that we cannot look simply to theology to explain recent Islam-inspired terrorism.

.  .  .

It’s here that the question of politics – geopolitics – becomes inescapable. The Qur’an and the hadith, the sources of Islam, didn’t get rewritten in the last few decades. But they were taken up and used by certain political actors to justify horrific violence. Why?

The answer must lie among the political, economic, military and social changes in the Middle East in our times, and how they have ramified in the wider world. It’s only by looking beyond the texts that we can hope to understand why certain interpretations of them have gained currency among a tiny minority – but a minority willing to indiscriminately kill civilians.
Read it all here. The point here is that politics and economics are driving the terrorism and Islam and the Quaran are largely being used as a post hoc justification for the violence, instead of being the ideology that drives the violence.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post , this is really a hell of an issue , very complicated , far greater than what have been presented , we won't stay young anymore in fact . It is just very important , to distinguish , between the IS ( Daesh ) and other Muslims in this regards . Many of those who are recruited to IS , suffer from mental and identity issues ( personal in fact ) . This is mainly because of the fact, that they are torn between their current European identity (British, French and so forth…) and their original identity, combined with social and cultural integration issues. That leads to identity issues, and finally, they find comfort and significance in extreme and fanatic doctrines.

    One may read , very good research , of Prof Arie W. Kruglanski (Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland ) claiming briefly that we deal with psychological issues , not theological ( but , it is far greater more complicated ) very recommended , here :