Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Extremist ... News

First, some thoughts on the perhaps larger issue.

The majority of those fighting against Muslim extremists are Muslim. Is Islam at war with itself? Hardly. Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, and others are Islamic militants, and their terrorist acts are openly condemned by Islamic leaders. They are opposed by Islamic nations and religious leaders. Volunteers from Iraq and Iran deploy to defend their towns and people against ISIS. We see the same in Djibouti, Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt, whom I know, and beyond.

As for Ayaan Hirsi Ali*, the former Muslim quoted here, it's perhaps possible that being raised as a Muslim in Somalia among the most violent of religious extremists, she has in fact seen the worst of it. Right next door in Kenya, Christians and Muslims living peacefully together might serve as a counterpoint to that perspective. In Egypt, Muslims and Coptic Christians banded together in demonstrations and mutual protection against terrorist activity.

The solution this 'news' articles suggests is ... what?  Ostracize and deport all Muslims? 

Muslim extremists are a threat, much like Aryan supremacists in years past, perhaps, or like the Inquisition of the middle ages. White supremacists of western history were similarly intolerant and wickedly murderous. Each claimed legitimacy for their inhumanity, hatred, and violence. They did not represent the broader world over which they hoped to rule.

Is Islam the threat? Or is it perhaps extremism and intolerance such as we've seen so often in history, with religious words providing a framework for discrimination and violence against others.

Second, there are these overtly exaggerated interpretations of the news.
The anti-Islamic message of that particular site ( and others like it is troublingly similar to the anti-Semitic propaganda from the early Nazi years.  Identical, actually.  Identical.  

So why would they deliberately misrepresent the truth like that?  What's their goal?

And that perhaps, is the larger issue; extremism in any form tends to destroy rather than solve.  Extremism, radicalism, fundamentalism, and fanaticism, all have deadly histories.

*Note:  In 2005, Hirsi Ali was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
An opponent of all religions, Hirsi Ali has been a critic of Islam, calling for a reformation of the religion. In 2004, she collaborated on a short movie with Theo van Gogh, entitled Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The film sparked controversy and death threats against the two; Van Gogh was assassinated later that year by Mohammed Bouyeri. In a 2007 interview, she described Islam as an "enemy" that needs to be defeated before peace can be achieved.  Her personal biography, Infidel: My Life, published that same year describes her
 story of exile from her clan through war, famine, arranged marriage, religious apostasy and the shocking murder on the streets of Amsterdam of her collaborator, Theo van Gogh. In her latest book Heretic (2015) she has moderated her views of Islam and now calls for a reform of the religion by supporting reformist Muslims.

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