08 January 2016

A one-man jihad

Here's a perfect storm: a West Philadelphia policeman has been wounded in an ambush attack by a man who professed allegiance to the so-called Islamic State after he was taken into custody. Lest anyone blame the Black Lives Matter movement for this crime, the suspect reportedly said he did it because his target, as a policeman, enforced laws contrary to Islam. The suspect's family acknowledges that he's been a devout Muslim for some time, but adds that he seemed to be going crazy lately, a change they attributed to sports injuries. If you haven't done so already, you can add Islam to the lengthy list of things that motivate people to go violently crazy. This guy is right up there with the devout Christians who drown their babies or cook them in ovens because they're convinced the kids have the devil in them. While there's a growing temptation now to treat Islam-inspired attacks as a separate category, Islam is probably at most a superficial detail distinguishing nuts like this one and the other nuts who go shooting crazy. There isn't much more to say when we don't have solid facts about this shooter's mental state, but it can't be denied that there is something increasingly suggestive in the global rhetoric of jihad, and that Muslims around the world seem increasingly responsive to it after a couple of centuries of quiescence. It may simply be their special way of saying they're not going to take the crap life serves them anymore -- as people or as Muslims -- a feeling that finds many different cultural expressions among different subcultures and seeks many different justifications or rationalizations for murder.  The problem for Muslims is that, unlike otherwise similar murderers or mass shooters, they're assumed to be for something rather than merely against everything like the average white nihilist. That makes them more threatening to many people, and it can't help implicating non-violent co-religionists in the threat, since they must be for the same thing.It's hard not to make the assumption when idiots like this one tell you why they're shooting cops, but when you have a lone wolf like this running around my guess is that he's more against than for anything, since he's not exactly going to build anything running around by himself with a gun. Nevertheless, every such incident will increase the pressure on American Muslims to clarify what they're for and against. Already some Muslims resent the pressure. The irony there is that Muslims probably are no more truly American than when they take a "screw you" attitude and refuse to apologize or be held accountable for what others like them do. Unfortunately for them, we seem to be in a period right now when Americans are demanding personal accountability from each other with increasing vehemence, whether it's the increasingly strident political correctness of the left or the increasingly strident opposition to political correctness from the right, which asserts a right to judge those who supposedly refuse to be judged. We're in an uncomfortably democratic moment right now because democracy puts everyone in judgment on everyone else, without always making the liberal distinction between groups and individuals. If Muslims don't like this growing demand for a reckoning, the most I can say is that they won't be the only ones -- especially when judgment comes, for them or for others, in the form of angry or crazy men with guns.


Anonymous said...

Here are a few rhetorical questions I've been asking myself and others lately.

1) Did the founder of Christianity ever raise an army, take up a sword, invade other sovereign nations, and force the inhabitants to submit to his religion, executing those who refused?

2) Did the founder of Christianity tell his disciples to lie to "pagans", misrepresenting themselves to them in order to further spread his religion or to save their own lives?

3) Did the founder of Islam ever raise an army, take up a sword, invade other sovereign nations, and force the inhabitants to submit to his religion, executing those who refused?

4) Did the founder of Islam tell his disciples to lie to "pagans", misrepresenting themselves and their intentions in order to further spread his religion or to save their own lives?

There is a long, verifiable history of christians, in the name of their religion, invading foreign nations, slaughtering their people, forcing others to convert. There is no denying that christianity has at least as much blood on its hands is islam. But to say that christianity is meant to be a religion of peace is a true statement. Christians were encouraged to allow themselves to die - non violently - rather than renounce their faith. A faith in which they were instructed to "turn the other cheek" if they wanted to enter the heavenly kingdom. Whereas muslims have been instructed, from the start, that it murder isn't a sin when committed against those who refuse to submit.

Anyone who tells you that islam is a religion of peace is a stone cold liar.

Samuel Wilson said...

So how are people answering questions 1 and 2? I think the answer to 2 is a pretty firm "No" but I'm not 100% sure on 1. Depends on how you interpret certain isolated Gospel verses. I think 4 is a solid "Yes" but whether 3 is 100% "Yes" depends on your interpretation of the Battle of Mu'tah and on whether you count every Arab tribe as a nation. Still, your main point stands. Islam is a religion of peace in the same way Rome was an empire of Peace, as in Tacitus's famous comment about a Roman conquest: they made a desert and called it peace.

Anonymous said...

Well, you could simply read the koran. It's all right there, along with much more. This is a sticking point with me. I'm pretty sure most liberals would no longer defend islam if they took the time to read the koran. Yeah, it's thick, it's boring. But unless you've read the koran, you only have the word of muslims regarding what islam truly is. If you read the koran, I'm pretty sure you would be as sicked by it as you would from reading the old testament.

I would go so far to say there is not a whole lot of difference between a lot of the ancient Hebrew religious laws and Sharia. Considering that the Hebrew's religious law was pretty much their only law.

Insofar as #1 up there, there is nothing in the gospel - or the new testament in general - that indicates Jesus ever raised an army, fought anyone or forced anyone's conversion (of course it's disputable as to whether he would have ever spread the word to gentiles to begin with). Interpretations of vague predictions notwithstanding. Regarding #4, simply google "taqiyya".

I am not saying that christians haven't committed such crimes, of their own accord, and using vaguely worded prophesies as justification. What I am saying is that there is no indication that Jesus himself (assuming he actually existed) ever raised a hand in violence towards anyone. There is quite a bit of indication that Mohammed did. In short, it can be claimed that christianity did not begin as a religion of violence, Islam cannot make that claim.

Samuel Wilson said...

Closest thing to incitement to violence by Jesus I know of is Luke 22:36, but some interpret this to say swords were necessary only to fulfill prophecy. And I have read the Koran but are we going to eliminate all literature that incites violence? Liberals are probably less interested in defending Islam than in defending Muslims as individuals, while people further left often take a "why pick on the poor?" or "who is the imperialist to judge?" attitude.

Anonymous said...

My main point being that, given islam's stance on lying to non-believers, it's history of invasion and forced conversion, there is absolutely no basis for accepting islam - and by extensios, muslims - to be a religion of peace. That there should, on this planet, be at least one country guaranteed to be free, for all time, of that religion. That should ISIS, or some other militant group, manage to reignite the idea of world wide jihad, there will be at least one guaranteed sanctuary to anyone condemned to death - for their belief (or lack thereof) by the koran. The ONLY way that becomes possible is for one country to have the political will and the public balls to outlaw the practice of islam and disallow any muslim entrance. And that nation should be the USA.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...let's see:
And He said to them, "When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?" They said, "No, nothing." 36And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. 37"For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, 'AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS'; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment."

Still no incitement to violence. He doesn't say "smiteth you the gentile and the non-believer alike." I do have to wonder how christians might resolve the paradox between this chapter (if you interpret it as a call to violence) and the "turn the other cheek" or the "swords into plowshares and spears into pruning shears" verses...

Anonymous said...

After re-reading that biblical passage, I have to wonder at the economics of Jerusalem, if a person could sell a used coat for enough money to by a sword of any quality.