In Iran, home of Islam, the people are coming to grips with the reality that their perfect Islamic Democracy, based on the will of the people and a beacon of pride to the entire Muslim world, is nothing more than a veneer surrounding another Muslim Dictatorship. It is a painful truth, but it is the obvious result of mixing religion and Democracy. Religion is all about the centralization of power. Centralization is necessary to codify and disseminate the belief system. Democracy’s central goal is to disperse power among as many people as possible. These two systems are fundamentally contradictory, and their mixture will always end in strife. Now, strife has come home to Islam. I want to look at this issue from it many facets, in hopes to find a solution to the violence.
A tree of many branches
Every religion has sects with their own belief sprouting from the same basic tenants of their respective belief systems. In all, these sects only fine small percentages of the population to fill their ranks. In general, a religious organization or ‘church’ will try to attract the widest audience possible. this is as much an altruistic need to spread what they believe to be the ‘truth’ of your existence, as it is a simple economic need for survival of the church.
Sects have a tendency to lean towards fore fundamentalist views of the religion, and more strict interpretation of related texts. The more fundamentalist the view, the more likely freedoms taken for granted by a population at large will be frowned-upon, even ”outlawed’, by that sect, making the lifestyle unpalatable by most. Interestingly, the more fundamentalist the view, regardless of which major religion is discussed, the less violence is tolerated. This is shown in fundamentalist sects throughout the world, from Buddhist monks and Muslim Uyghur’s in Asia, to the Christian Amish in the U.S.
Whenever a sect becomes violent, there is always some political or economic basis to the modification of that religion. European governments used Christianity to help foster the military plunder of the Middle East during the crusades. Even in rural southern United States, hatred of anti-slavery laws and northern economic domination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries combined with Christian religious iconography to form radical and violent organizations which exist even today. But in all the world, membership in Christian, Buddhist, Hindi, Jewish violent organized sects pales in comparison to a product of Islam- Muslim extremism.
How do you tell a man full of hate…trained to hate…to stop hating? How can you explain that a man’s world view is wrong, when everything he sees he reinterprets by habit, to justify that world view? How do you unlearn insanity?
Of the entire world’s religions, Islam has proven them to be the most corruptible and inherently militant of all. Regardless of the teachings of its texts, the rhetoric of its holy men has spurned the largest amount of military strife across the world of any faith. Christianity may have had the crusades, but the Jihad of Islam has touched every continent on earth, and continues to today (Antarctica..You’re next).
Sometimes Islamic strife is a force of change for good. The Islamic Moro war against the Spanish eventually freed the Philippine people from colonial rule. The Muslim activist sects in the US helped spur the civil rights movement in the 60’s. Unfortunately, these examples are desperately few, and too narrow in focus. You see, even these examples have bred consequences of their own. The Moro culture in the Philippines is constantly theorizing the Philippine people, to the point today where the Philippine government has settled for military containment and separate treaties with the Muslims. The black Islamic movement in America has been plagues with scandal and corruption, and some have argued that its rhetoric has helped to further divide race relations in this country. Also, the greater Islamic religion in the US has been linked to assisting in many acts of domestic terrorism. As we’ve seen in the news almost every day now, however, Islamic strife everywhere in the world has no positive attribute. It is murder for money and promises of fulfillment in the afterlife. Mostly, it is simply murder for the sake of murder.
Fundamentalist Islam has become linked to some of the most intractable violence across the world. The evolution is always the same. A specific Muslim tribal population fights until it’s given special (or occasionally, basic) rights under a government. Then they fight to get certain important religious laws enacted by the government. They fight until they get government representatives from their sect into power, then until they take the top seats. Once they have control of the government, they abolish all non-religious laws, and recreate the government into one that follows only the laws of Islam. Then they fight until only the laws of the Imam of their particular sect remain, removing the rights of all others. Once done, they fight until all citizens not of that sect are dead. Once everyone else is dead, they either fight amongst themselves, or begin fighting with other nations. No matter what capitulations are given by the original government, good or not, the fighting never ends.
The nations of the world must realize that this population cannot be placated. Human rights are not the issue. Islamic law is not the issue. Economic freedom isn’t even a concern. Regardless of the rhetoric, they only want death- this is their commodity. How do we negotiate with a movement such as this? If we want to know the intent of an Islamic population, don’t listen to their words. Islamic political leaders know how to lie just as well at other political leaders. Look at their history, and the future will be obvious.
How did this happen? U.S. foreign policy surly hasn’t helped, and much of this hate may have morphed from envy. Unlike 100 years ago, distant tribes and rural farmers now have the ability to see the benefits of the west. News and advertising has many avenues to allow it’s spread today. But their governments are too disorganized to offer them the services that improve their quality of life. Furthermore, the west’s commitment to helping these people over the years was probably inconsistent, at best. I guess we, as a government and a people, are easily distracted. Seeing and not having breeds resentment. And when you add a little religious fervency to the mix, it’s easy to create an entire race of hatred. But, it doesn’t explain the blind hatred of all people. Some of our worst terrorists come from backgrounds of privilege in their own countries. Western social programs and donations cannot be the entire answer.
Palestine & Israel
A turtle attacked will retreat to it’s shell, A turtle feeling safe will come out. But a turtle without a shell will attack. This is the way of a people.
I suppose the more one picks at a wound, the worse it becomes. Israelis and Palestinians love their wounds, and, more importantly, each others. People, like wounds, need someplace safe to heal. Unfortunately, Palestinians have no ‘place’ to go. Officially, Israelis describe Palestinians as militant Israelis, a separate, angry group of their country. In reality though, they both know they are different, geographically, politically, and racially. Different backgrounds, different places. Like most problems in the Middle East, the solution is land. Until Israel grasps this concept (not in context to their own history), war will continue. And, the excuse for war by other Muslim Extremists will continue to be propagated.
Any time a traditional people, defined as separate by culture race, and history, are denied their own political future, there will be strife. Take the Kurds . They are a people of many countries, yet one ‘place’ on the map, have no country of their own. Although the word ‘Kurdistan’ is recognized by people of the region, and it’s meaning is clear, no country would be willing to give up it’s land to make it a political reality. The Kurds suffered for this inequity in every country for which they were part.
How is land the solution? Allowing both sides to heal can only happen if they are separate. The fact that we can make the distinction between sides already proves the point. These people are separate. And, physical separation also allows these countries to fortify the borders between them. Any aggression made against the other will be official treaty violations with international consequences, unlike the “casual” terror they both perpetrate on each other, now. The major sections of west bank are large enough to become a self-sufficient, independent country for Palestinians.
Gaza is another matter. It is too small for self-sufficient independence and couldn’t survive without significant external influence. That would pose a security risk for Israel. Folding Gaza into Israel would allow Israel to finish securing it’s border with Egypt, even if it means razing Rafah in the process to build a great wall from Israel to the sea. This would also show that the Palestinians are truthful about wanting peace- to show willingness to give something up to receive something greater in return. And, allowing any Gaza Muslims to immigrate to the ‘New Palestine’ country through Israel would show Israeli good-faith, as well
With secure borders to the north and south, Israel can achieve the separation it needs. Palestinians can then have a place to define as ‘their own’, and secure themselves, as well. Once separation of people is achieved, time can pass without constant battles. Soon, fear will give way to tolerance, then trade and peace. It is a lengthy process, but it must be completed. Until Israel accepts this, there can be no peace.
The world by force
What if the political solution is not the accepted one? What if Muslim terrorism cannot be satiated through diplomacy? Unlike the Palestinian/Israeli problem, I believe most cannot. The ultimate solution is public education, local political stability, and commerce. This keeps extremes to a minimum. More importantly, it allows for a people the educational and infrastructure tools to quash these types of movements themselves internally, before they take-over. But, this cannot happen in a country’s labor and money is devoted to the murder of the rest of the world.
How to get to that solution? The only way to defend against a “religious’ insurgency is to follow a military process over the population, whether they be an independent terrorist band, or an entire country.
Disarm, Segregate, contain, restructure (education/utilities/commerce/etc.),
If, you are successful, the population can be disbanded (allowed into a country’s population), or left to it’s own new country, after the generation who began the terror is gone. This is the solution of last resort.
I envision a world where the UN can sanction the military take-over of a place, and decree that this rogue land has a period of time to become citizens of the world once again. By law, no less than 25 years, but no more than 99. In that time, the UN will rebuild the land into a country of modern education and infrastructure. If the country can stand alone in democratic freedom in 25 years, the UN will leave. If not, the UN will keep working in the country until it succeeds. If after 99 years, the UN still fails, they must leave, and allow the fledgling country to evolve on its own. No one country should be responsible for this task (again). 500 years of colonialism by western civilizations should have taught us how to do at least this.
I don’t know the morality of this plan. Morality seems to have more to do with fashion than civilization. But, I do know when when a people of a land choose a path that worships the murder of everyone else (whatever the religious justification of that murder is), everyone else has the right to ensure that they do not succeed. If there exists batter way to handle the problem of Muslim Extremism, I would like very much to see it. But, so far, I think we’ve all been left wanting.
Theory is all well and good, but the application in the real world is made more difficult by the tumultuous histories of the world’s major players. With recent events in Iran’s latest elections, it would be easy for westerners to infer that the US should assume role as judge and Iran should be taken. This inference would be irresponsible. Iran is undergoing an internal struggle to come to terms with a reality that the rest of the world already recognized. It is not for us to intervene. One of Iran’s largest enemies, the Taliban, was responsible for the attack on us- and focusing on Iran by the west is simply a misdirection of anger. Also, the US has used its great military might to spread it’s political will across the globe for so long, and with such horrible consequences in many places, it’s difficult to say that we have the moral upper-hand to dictate which countries should stay and which should fall. Iran’s long history of the sponsorship of global terrorism may be tied as much to religious idealism as it was to secure it’s own existence in the face of so many enemies.
Countries victim of terrorist attacks have no perfect system, just the imperative to take action. Only the UN has such wide-ranging interest and can remain independent enough to make those types of decisions.