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Understanding the roots of militant Islam
By Carol Devine-Molin
The religion of Islam represents an enigma to most Americans, especially in the aftermath of the atrocities perpetrated by radical Islamists on September 11th. There's just too many conflicting statements being disseminated that only add to the confusion. Is Islam really a "religion of peace", as consistently asserted by President Bush, or is it a vehicle for violent Jihad? Well, history reveals that both versions of Islam have emerged at various points over the course of the past 1500 years, according to author Stephen Schwartz in his informative tome, The Two Faces Of Islam.
Schwartz exhibits a notably sympathetic approach to Islam, underscoring that there is nothing intrinsically violent, or perverse about traditional Islam, one of the world's magnificent religions. Unlike "clash of civilization" proponents, Schwartz eschews the notion that the Islamic world was inevitably poised to wage Jihad on western cultures. Rather, the variant of Islam known as Wahhabism (Wahhabi cult) is currently at the root of Muslim extremism, and attacks upon western societies. And Schwartz is of the opinion that "the great majority of the world's more than one billion Muslims do not support Wahhabism".
Moreover, Schwartz maintains that the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an, is often quoted out of context, such as the familiar verse, "Slay the idolators wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them". Accompanying verses, which would provide further clarification, are generally ignored such as : "Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers, except for those idolators who have honored their treaties with you. With these, keep faith, until their treaties have run their term. God loves the righteous". Or, the lines that exhort: "God does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither made war on your religion nor driven you from your homes. God loves the equitable". Therefore, a more comprehensive reading of the Qur'an reveals a kinder, more flexible understanding of Islamic beliefs.
The author's major points can be summarized as follows:
Let's just admit it, the Saudis have been up-to-their-eyeballs in support of terrorism for quite awhile. Logically, any person or nation that is funding the Wahhabi "death cult", is in effect funding the terrorism that it produces. And America can no longer ignore the unholy alliance between the Saudi royals and the al-Qaida organization that perpetrated the heinous assaults upon New York City and Washington DC.
Just recently, allegations surfaced that the wife of Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar funneled monies through third parties to two of the September 11th hijackers. In the minds of many Americans, there is undeniable Saudi complicity in the deaths of approximately 3 000 individuals on that "Day of Infamy". The calls for Senate investigation into Saudi financing of al-Qaida terrorism, particularly the September 11th terrorist strikes, is well-founded and arguably an imperative undertaking. The average American has grown exceedingly cynical, and wants these Saudi scoundrels held accountable for their misdeeds. If it means filing a multitude of lawsuits against them, freezing their bank accounts, and confiscating their assets, so be it. As for American foreign policy, it will just have to adjust to the changing landscape. We can no longer do business with individuals implicated in the mass murder of our citizens, nor should we depend upon them in any way. Let them keep their military bases.
Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.
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