|Rebellious World Blind To Wall Writings [Daniel 5: 5]|
There is a premise making the rounds.
It loosely reads: “replace 'Muslim' with 'Jew' and what does it sound like?”
This statement is attempting to highlight how some people incorrectly point fingers at all Muslims when thinking about certain radical and violent religious extremist groups or individuals; radical Muslims being a narrow interpretation and state of mind within a larger ideology - Islam.
The attempt is to bridge a similarity with Nazi Germany's treatment of Jewry a century ago, the Jews as a whole being attacked for the actions of a few influential Jews.
This is as far as the premise and accuracy goes...the bridge is actually a very short pier.
Jewish identity runs a wide gamut, being narrowly and religiously interpreted in some cases, irreligious while beholden to an ethnic identity in other cases; also a state of mind within a greater ideology - Jewish.
Both cases are perceived through the lens of an ideology, which is a belief in a god, or in something individually explained.
Many ideologies exist on earth and they are called religions (atheism included).
The premise of the phrase comparing Islam's critics to Jewish critics is wildly flawed, I think.
The phrase's premise can be called correct on the surface when only looking at individuals and blaming a group by extension.
Were Jewish individuals or a Jewish group within Jewry, whether wealthy or common, doing any of the activities that radical Muslims are currently doing?
Let's look at a short list and try a comparison:
- nefarious agenda for outright world conquest
- committing violent crimes, always justified
- invoking a so-called slanted religious interpretation
- hostile to surrounding culture
- conversion being the aim, with tribute or death the two other options
- funded propaganda campaigns promoting legitimacy
- desire to change world culture at all costs
- introduce an alternative interpretation of life contrary to how life has developed across the globe
I'm sure some parallels could be drawn depending on who is reading this article.
According to any individual's interpretation of the world, how they understand history, or history's revisions, they may bridge several parallels.
The internet flourishes with unfounded internet conspiracy theories, while there is factual evidence of conspiracy facts (this is a general statement).
For example, there is a popular conspiracy theory claiming the earth is flat, with some geometry and well-crafted arguments mashed together and effectively beguiling the gullible and suspicious.
There is a religious motivation behind the promotion and push for this theory.
Yet the theory is outright nonsense and has been for quite a long time.
Fortunately, no one is (currently) killing others for refusing to believe the earth is flat...though there was a time science and religious belief did end in bloodshed.
However nonsensical the flat-earth idea is, initially being an ancient concept before man circumnavigated the earth, reasoning and evidence today shows how easily people can be fooled by propaganda, whether in professional media (news) or in a YouTube video or FaceBook post...besides the notion of a flat or spherical earth.
There is an ongoing battle for the minds and hearts of humanity.
Ancient kings would declare edicts and send heralds throughout the land, promoting their propaganda quite convincingly; anyone who opposed the king's edict met with certain death.
Loosely affiliated tribes also enforced their local power through force, intimidation and whatever religious or mythical ideology was at their disposal.
Whether such beliefs were true or false were secondary to their effectiveness in forming popular opinion and exacting desired results.
Understanding, objectivity and depth are usually missing when people either make simple statements or accept certain interpretations of simple statements.
Simple statements can be profound and unequivocally truthful.
Simple statements can also be flat-out lies disguised as a truism.
The lies, quite ironically, are sometimes not intentional; they are simply based on faulty ideas perceived as truth or reality...the things legends, myths, ideologies and religions are made of.
Simple statements abound regarding the topics of politics, economics, religion, identity, and the many subjects which make up our conscious reflection of ourselves and life.
Yet the details are not synonymous nor vaguely similar.
The motivations, or identity of being Jewish (whether affluent or common), and the motivations, or identity of being Muslim (whether radical or common) begin to appear quite differently as one delves into the premise highlighted in the beginning of this article.
The fallacy becomes clear while the ignorance of the subject matter is ever-highlighted.
The claim against Jewish hegemony was an accusation from an economic grievance, with the religious and ethnic slant being the scapegoating tools playing on people's ignorance.
Germany's Hitler blamed a machination of the economy by certain individuals (not all who were Jewish, by the way), yet this reality of economy ruling over people has been the world's constant since before the first city-state.
How often do you see religious Jews evangelizing?
A century ago, were Jews demanding Germans to assimilate to the Jewish faith?
Was the Jewish faith even promoted?
Was promotion even an idea or suggestion at the time, or even today, regarding Judaism, Jewry or anything obviously Jewish?
Is today's perceived scapegoat - fringe radicals misinterpreting the Islamic religion - the sole cause of concern for non-Muslims?
Is the waywardness of that religious fringe very different from the Islam that Muhammad exemplified and what his poetic stanzas teach from the Quran?
Are the supplemental testimonies (Hadith) where such waywardness is derived, holding the Quran free from criticism regarding violence, warring, conversions, taxations and justified killing?
The economic claim against wealthy Jewry a century ago, which is currently repeated, is the same claim leveled today against “capitalism” as a whole; a faceless enemy, scapegoating individuals and pointing to a larger group.
I think the real issue has more to do with ethnic jealousy, religious bias, and ignorance of how the world has always been (regarding affluent and influential people of any background in the past, and affluent and influential people of any background today).
The element that embitters and confuses the mix is religious ideology and indifference of identity.
Today, the enemy for the religious radical is a certain culture that is not their own, and which ignores their religious arguments for the rights of people regardless of religious judgment of morality and ethics.
In the news we see that the radical Muslim agenda doesn't only attack western strongholds, but also makes violence within ancient Islamic regions.
Similar to when warring between Catholic and Protestant groups were at their zenith, the several groups within Islam continue to battle for supremacy, or legitimacy, of their particular religious interpretations.
The ethnic and religious divide between Iran and Saudi Arabia being an obvious example.
What is ironic is how the western cultures are trying to be sympathetic to the Islamic dilemma.
There is a battle in media propaganda.
One side blames the Islamic culture as a whole for the acts of the murderers.
This is what the premise is highlighting.
Another side portrays the religion as peaceful, moral and neutral, while labeling the murderers as troubled individuals or mentally sick people.
This is what the premise desires to distinguish.
Yet some difficult questions are:
What inspires these wayward religious murderers in the first place?
Are their inspirations common or uncommon to Islam?
Is the ideology of the radical murderers something dissimilar to Islam, or does it have a genesis from the earliest efforts of Muhammad and his poetry?
What inspires people to blow up both themselves and innocent people who are either very different, or different in arguably minute (the adjective) religious details?
The elephant in the room is the discussion finding answers to these questions.
From the point of view of the murderers, their inspirational sources seem to be the Quran and Hadith coupled with ancient and modern interpretations.
Unfortunately for the apologists, the evidence can be read by anyone desiring to read it.
There is no argument the evidence has its roots in that religion's primary sources; the Quran and Hadith.
There is an undercurrent of fear having such a public discussion, because such a discussion can be interpreted as attacking that religion or the honored man who claimed to be a prophet of God.
This discussion has possible political repercussions...rooted in fear.
The fear is propagated in the media subconsciously - that such a discussion may incite the mass of otherwise peaceful and 'moderate' religious people to take a collective stand.
An argument suggests that the reason the radical fringe became radicalized in the first place is the historical reality of violence within the Islamic culture.
Another argument blames western culture, western encroachment, western empire building, and similar outside forces.
These arguments are also found and evidenced in the primary sources of the Quran and Hadith...besides the historical writings of ancient Islamic historians.
Just as the Nazis in Germany blamed their economic woes on wealthy and influential Jews, so do some impoverished Muslims blame their current situation and troubled regions on western culture.
Are the two claims accurate?
Is only one claim accurate?
Is the Islamic culture fatally flawed from its inception?
Is the Islamic religion God's answer to the world's waywardness; the execution of judgment upon the world as a whole?
Is Islam true and fully answers mankind's ills while establishing a moral and ethical standard for humanity?
Perhaps some of these questions can be answered when the individual sets aside a divisive identity, and sees the world as it actually is: populated by human beings who are all related, separated only by time and geography and ideas, but not actually separate.
As for the perception beyond the definitions of religion, ideology and who and how God is, the defining factor is how to go about those who do not religiously agree with you.
Do you love those who oppose you, or do you extinguish them?
Do you embrace those who perceive themselves as your enemy, or do you deal with them according to their actions towards you?