The real Islam
With all respect to Mr. Downes and the Northern Express, and the excellent explanation of the schism between the Shia and Sunni in Iraq, I believe it sugarcoats Muhammad and Islam.
If I may be very politically incorrect, I dont believe Islam was ever a progressive or enlightened religion. I might rather argue that much of the violence that we are experiencing today is the uncorrupted Islam exposing its intolerant and violent beginnings.
Before Muhammad the Prophet there was Muhammad the Warrior, a man who had been in battle. Initially, Muhammads new religion had no source of funding, so Muhammad and his followers took to raiding caravans and villages. Stealing from or killing kafir (infidels) was permitted as long as it promoted the goals of Islam. So Mohammad basically ransacked most of the Christian and Jewish world as well as all of the so called pagan lands if thats what you call the Parsi and Zoroastrians.
Islamic law is very clear how it classifies individuals. You are either a Muslim (believer), a Dhimmi (second class, or slave), or dead. This is basically how Islamic Jihad conquered the Middle East, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula (Spain & Portugal). This Jihad was and is an obligation of all able-bodied Muslims who are not otherwise engaged in other activities that promote the expansion of Islam. The Quran states ...God has promised reward to all who believe but He distinguishes those who fight, above those who stay at home, with a mighty reward.
The politically correct notion that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy fails to recognize that under Islam, this peace and mercy is only afforded to Muslims.
To see modern Jihad in action we only have to look at the Sudan. Since 1992 the Sudanese government (one-time host of Osama bin Laden and headquarters of Al Qaeda) has killed untold number of Christians and animists. Now its targeting Muslims who dont measure up to the hard-line Jihadist government. We should also look very carefully at Lebanon which is supposed to be a secular democracy. The Islamic terrorist group, Hezbolla, has all but hijacked the country with the help of Syria, Iran, and the United Nations.
Perhaps instead of viewing terrorists, and their supporters as fringe groups, we need to examine Islam, its core principles, and why its modern atrocities are overlooked. Many young Muslim girls disappear in Western countries, most notably as the result of honor killings. It is a rarity if such crimes are ever solved, considering the tenuous position of Islamic communities in the West. In Pakistan, a US ally, they are still struggling with the concept of rape. Under Islamic law a rape victim must be able to produce no less than four independent witnesses; otherwise the accuser will be tried for adultery.
While I believe that the majority of Muslims are non-violent, peaceful people, I also believe that they fear retribution from within if they were to question or protest against their religious leadership. The modern Islamic world is far from free or informed. Most Islamic countries are strict authoritarian states which only allow regulated press. Like China, North Korea and Cuba they employ draconian measures to restrict the flow of information to their people.
Perhaps it is time to put petty politics aside and be more critical of real issues. We need to look at our use of oil and how it funds terrorism. At the same time, maybe we should ask why the U.N. and Kofi Annan refused Bushs demand that the killing in the Sudan be classified as genocide, which requires action. France, China, and Russia all have oil interests in the Sudan and veto all actions against its government. Is that not truly blood for oil?
C. Russell via email
Blaming the Greens
Mike Estes provides some interesting statistics (Letters, 11/23) on Democratic losses in Michigan Senate Districts 13 and 32. He concludes if the Green Party votes in each race went Democratic then the Democratic Party would today control the State Senate.
May I respectfully suggest other routes for the Democrats than the blame game? (1) Democratic candidates can visit Green meetings and court the Green votes (as Mike did himself when he ran for office, and as have other Democratic and independent candidates); (2) Dems can champion some Green values themselves; (3) work harder than the Republicans who were the ones that got more votes.
The Traverse Bay Watershed and NMC Greens meet at 6:30 p.m. at Horison Books, TC, on the second Monday of every month (except December). The public is always welcome.
Tom Shea TC