Terrorism, for me the image calls up memories of dead marines in Beirut, crashed planes in Scotland, towers falling in NY, Japanese subway systems filling with nerve agent, attacks on trains, buses and subways, of bombed and burning buildings, and of shooters all over the globe attacking public events and infrastructure. For much of America however, it seems that terrorism is a strictly Muslim problem. This attitude is expressed from the pulpit, on youtube broadcasts, in the media, from the mouths of politicians, and on the web.
It is a natural thing to react to a terrorist attack. It is a normal emotional response to feel fear, anger, and distress. However acting in a feeling is often not the way to proceed in life. People making big life decisions based purely on emotion rarely wind up satisfied. Often, there is some unforeseen aspect to the decision they simply failed to grasp, because they were highly emotional.
We Americans reacted this way when Bush declared a “War on Terror”, and we remained silent. As a Veteran this made as much sense to me as declaring a “war” on rifles, bombs, or bullets. One declares war on nation states, not on methods of combat. At the time I saw it as political rhetoric; merely a continuation of the rhetoric from previous administrations with “Wars” on poverty and drugs.
Carried over to the terrorist concept this notion creates grounds for eternal war, not against nation states, but against anyone using the tactic of terror, in any state. Bush also said, and we let it slide in anger, that any nation who harbors terrorists is themselves terrorist. So in a very real sense we declared war on the entire world. It is also declaring war on ourselves because we have had terrorists in own country. Other countries could easily say, as we have, “Since you cannot catch the terrorists in your country you must be hiding them.” It is a very dangerous, self-righteous, and egotistical attitude to walk around with. An attitude based in emotion, not reason.
You can never win a war on terror because terrorism is a combat strategy. Terrorism is most often employed in guerrilla circumstances, where one force is greatly outmatched in a traditional battle scenario. In order to weaken and demoralize your enemy, or in order to create an emotional reaction in your enemy; you attack the weak tender underbelly of their society. Such actions cause chaos, fear, and an inevitable emotional response. Terrorism is a psychological form of warfare in this way; it is a wet Psy-Op.
Make no mistake, Isis wants the American population to react as if it is Christians vs Muslims. That is part of the message they are attempting to spread. Christians are Infidels to that sect and if America responds with troops, their following will grow. Every missile we loose, every bomb we drop, every drone raid which causes the slightest collateral damage is used by them as evidence that “We Americans” are really just Christian conquerors hiding behind a banner of Liberty.
The followers of Isis are like the “Westboro Baptist Church” of Islam, with AK’s and plans to use them. Most Muslims right now, think Isis is full of shit. They think Isis misunderstands the meanings of the Muslim faith. However, Isis believes that anyone who does not follow their version of Islam is an Infidel worthy of death, and they are both armed and ready to kill for this belief. This is what Syrians, of all types, are running from. W.B.C will scream at you that you’re going to burn in Hell, but they are not so quick to attempt sending you there. The American Christian attitude about Syrian refugees coming from pulpits and available online expresses exactly the intent of Isis, and it will be used to draw more Muslims into that fold. The Syrian Christian attitude comes in two basic camps, loving Christians who want to escape violence, and Christian Militias who feel they are in the New Crusade already.
Christians in America are reacting to these Muslim Terrorists as if they have none of their own. Yet Christian Terrorists are just as bad as Isis in other parts of the world. They are, as we speak, committing genocide in Africa. In America the other day one shot up a medical clinic because they objected to one type of medical procedure. There have been far more terrorist acts here in America by these Christians against other Americans than there have been Islamist related attacks. Such Christian attacks long predate Muslim acts of terror committed against Americans and are utterly home grown. These terrorist acts are inspired by Christian Dogma and right wing rhetoric in media.
“Since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, 13 wounded, 100 butyric acid attacks, 373 physical invasions, 41 bombings, 655 anthrax threats, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers.”—N.A.F. This is not including Jonestown, or Waco, or Oklahoma City, all of which were either inspired, driven, or underpinned by Christian Dogma.
Isis is a serious threat, much more to Muslims and Christians in the mid-east than to the USA., but simply being Muslim does not make one a member of Isis any more than being a Christian makes you a follower of W.B.C. or a terrorist shooter of medical clinics. Isis must be confronted. The policy of Isis is conform or die, but it is ignorant to think all Muslims are Isis, especially when Isis is killing Muslims left and right.
We Americans support Saudi Arabia in our foreign relations policies. Saudi Arabia has a horrific human rights issue, mostly as a result of Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a sect of Islam which arose in the mid 1700’s, and has been violent since its foundation. After killing Muslims and forcing conversions to Wahhabism for 60 odd years, Wahhabists were militarily vanquished and driven into the desert by the Ottoman Empire.
Wahhabists killed tens of thousands of both Muslims and Christians, and they burned down almost every mosque and church they encountered. Wahhabists see holy buildings as either a graven image or housing graven images, and as such they require destruction. A great many Muslim holy sites were destroyed by Wahhabists. If you ever wondered why some Muslims will demolish museums or historic sites, wonder no further.
Wahhabism was adopted and edited by the Saudis at the founding of that nation. In Wahhabism there is to be a type of “King of Islam” and it was this the Saudi’s adopted, making the Saudi King a default “King of Islam” in Saudi Arabia. It is from this version of Wahhabism that we get such notorious human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.
Both Al-Queda and Isis, and many other smaller splinter groups, embrace the original ideas of Wahhabism but reject the Saudi interpretation. Instead they returned to the fundamentals of Wahhabism which are bloody indeed. This is the reason why many of the terrorists of 9-11 were of Saudi origin.
It was in Saudi Arabia that many first learned of these ideas. Thus in Mosques in Saudi Imams teach Wahhabism, and outside in the market another Muslim quietly speaks that this is watered wine, and introduces the believer to Isis. Such Muslims simply switched denominations of Islam. We Americans are ignoring this elephant in the room.
The Saudis have a large military and could make a significant impact against Isis, if they wanted to take action. Yet Saudis take no action and instead ask the USA to take action. This is because a great many Saudis support Isis to some extent, because they believe the underlying Wahhabist philosophy. This allows Wahhabists among them to think they can make the Saudi model of Islam global, through Isis, with plausible deniability. It also makes any attempt by the King of Saudi to fight against Isis a form of political suicide. I think just the notion of directly fighting against Isis raises the specter of Civil war in Saudi Arabia.
Bush and Trump have strong business ties with the Saudis, so do many corporations. Saudi oil is a commodity they all require, or that same oil provides them with other lucrative business opportunities by its existence. The Saudis use these relations as levers against changes in their society and as leverage to involve Americans while keeping their hands clean. This makes any president elected who is a billionaire with Saudi connections or holds a long tradition of corporate sponsorship very unlikely to address these Saudi issues.
Our Mideast policies are unsound. Many are held on a principle of tradition and religion. A lot of our support for Israel is a direct result of Christianity; as many Christian sects feel that the Jews are Gods chosen people and to not support them would be sinful. The global guilt over the holocaust also plays into this support. All of this is used by Muslim groups like Hamas; who see such support as Christians supporting the enemy Jew who kills their children. Since “the friend of my enemy is my enemy”, our support of Israel undermines attempts at diplomacy from the outset. Christians themselves amplify and reinforce this notion by falsely claiming America a “Christian Nation” publicly.
The six day war was 48 years ago, and yet we still give billions in military aid to Israel which they use to lob missiles at Muslims in other lands. Is it not apparent we are not helping the situation in this fashion? Israeli aid should be contingent upon how they use it.
All of this reeks of religion. We Americans are quick to say, this is not a religious war, but it is very easy to see how religion is inspiring those on all sides. Trump, who has never been a very religious man to my knowledge, has gained a veneer of Christianity because of his anti-Muslim stance. He is repeating what Christians hear from the pulpits and online. A rather large segment of Christians are assuming Trump believes as they do.
Trump is not only riding a wave of fear preached from Christian pulpits, but increasing the size and power of that wave through media attention. Unless you do a little legwork yourself online, you will not see the extent of this new Christian war footing. Combat Christian Militias exist in Syria fighting Isis and a segment of the American Christian population supports and endorses this. Some seek to emulate these modern Christian Crusaders. These Christians do not see Christian Syrians as people attempting to survive, but rather new Christian Militias carrying the cross against the devil Islamist. They hope Donald Trump will lead this new Crusade. They make open reference to the previous crusades and the words and interpretations of the Bible used during those times.
Now fundamentalist Christians are following Trump, a billionaire with no strong history of faith. In standard Christian terms, “He’s Lukewarm”, by his own admission. “Trump reminded us of his resurgent religious sensibilities, if in an oddly offhanded sort of way. When the moderator asked him if he had ever sought the Lord’s pardon for anything, Trump replied: “I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I don’t bring God into that picture.”
Trump added that, as a Presbyterian, he does take communion, which he construed as tantamount to petitioning the Godhead for absolution: “When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed. I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.’”
Despite this lukewarm faith, fundamentalists and evangelicals seem to resoundingly agree with his crusade approach to the problem of Islamic terrorism, while simultaneously denying the very existence of Christian Terrorism. In my mind the Presbyterian leaders ought to step up on this, because now it looks very much like the Presbyterians support a new crusade too. Christians need to wake up to this reality and confront it if they want to retain the loving faith they claim to actually follow.
If you are a loving Christian person you owe it to yourself to take a look here. http://shoebat.com/
They have a selection of articles, such as, “Destroy Islam Or Islam Will Destroy US – Here Is The Proof” which illustrates this Christian vs Muslim war footing mentality. “Time For A Wakeup Call: The War Scenario Between Russia And Turkey In Syria Is The Prelude To The War Of Gog And Magog” which shows these ideologies are also tied into the end times beliefs in fundamentalism. Articles on the new crusade like “Christian Militias On The Rise; A New Crusade Coming” only support my earlier assertions.
The author of this site, Walid Shoebat, is a self-declared former Muslim Jihadist, who converted to Christianity, and now writes about his experiences in light of his conversion. In this way he seems never to have stopped Jihad, but to have switched “teams” in a holy war he still believes in. This is but one Christian voice in a chorus online.
If our American policy is “any nation who harbors terrorists is themselves terrorist”, then the Saudi Issue is a slap in the face to that notion. Saudi Arabia is home front of Wahhabism, an ideology from which Al Qaeda and Isis spawned. If our American policy is “any nation who harbors terrorists is themselves terrorist” then we ourselves are guilty for inspiring terror with our political and religious rhetoric, like the recent medical clinic shooting.
Robert Dear, the shooter at a recent Christian Terrorist attack on a medical clinic said, “I am a warrior for the Babies”. It is clear to me that Mr. Dear considered himself a “Warrior of God” “for the babies”. Considering this type of thing is preached about and broadcast on major media, how are Christians able to think they bear no responsibility? In precisely the same fashion that Muslims, even Wahhabists, feel they bear no responsibility for Isis. Both groups are quick to use the “No True Scotsman” Fallacy to attempt to distance themselves from others of their faith they feel do not represent them, to claim Isis is not a “real” example of Islam or that Mr. Dean is not a “real” Christian.
Christians and Muslim both need to accept the reality that their own religions can, and often do, spawn aberrant believers willing to do violence for their beliefs. They need to understand and accept that this too is a part of their faith, instead of seeing it as another faith entirely. Both religions need to begin policing themselves much more strictly by confronting radicalism in their ranks. A failure to do so might actually be risking a new religious war and not just a war with strong religious underpinnings.
Christians need to understand that Mr. Dean is a creation of the Christian faith. A creation made by belief in certain Christian dogmatic understandings. Beliefs which allow him to see murder as justified. Beliefs which allow men to violate God’s commandments violently, in the name of Christ.
American Christians need to understand that Mr. Dean grew out of religion in the same fashion as Osama Bin Laden. Christians need to be thankful that Mr. Dean took matters into his own hands, killing only a few; instead of creating a group of like mind; an American-Christian Al-Qaeda or Isis. How long until the rhetoric from pulpits and media spawns exactly that?
Muslims need to confront their own dangerous rhetoric when they encounter it, and not give it a pass. In the Mid-east they need to defend themselves and families from actual sectarian violence as well. It is only by Christians and Muslims policing their own religions against violent ideologies that they can hope to avoid future tragedies and terrorist acts. The people of faith who see their God as Love and their faith as peaceful need to confront these realities and face down the hateful segments of their own faiths.
The rest of us, who hold no affiliation with either group, need to consistently remind both groups of these realities. Both Christians and Muslims are in glass houses throwing stones. It is very easy for them to fail to see this, to reflexively use the “No True Scotsman” defense. It is to our own detriment that we fail to make them see this, as bullets and bombs do not discriminate.
We Americans need to stop thinking with our emotions and start using our reason. We need to be aware that if moderates confront extremists, violent conflict can arise. Protestants and Catholics killed each other in Ireland for 1000 years. Sectarian violence can be deadly, but to fail to confront extremism is to allow it to spread.
If you never understood why Emperor Constantine forcefully gathered all the Christian leaders and their texts and created by council the modern Bible, you do now. It was from a miasma of denominations, which struggled against each other that he strove to create stability in the faith. From a myriad of Christian ideas he formed by council what is today Christianity. Constantine’s reason was twofold, to ensure taxation and to reduce the issue of extremism and sectarian conflicts.
Hating or fearing all Muslims makes just as much sense as hating or fearing all Christians. It makes no sense at all. We can ill afford to keep operating on emotions as Mr. Trump would have us do. We need to put our heads together and think, review all existing policies in the light of how they affect terror, and act accordingly. We do not need to blame the believers, but believers need to confront the extremists inside their own faiths. I do not mean just their sect or denomination; their Church or Mosque; but in all of Islam and in all of Christianity, in the entirety of faith.
If you are a moderate believer and you hear a message of fear or hate from your fellow Christian or Muslim, you need to stand up and call that out. People have a herd instinct, and unless you speak out people are actually likely to believe that hate filled message. Research shows however that a single person standing up and saying “NO, you’re wrong about that” reduces this instant following effect by 80%, just because it forces your fellow believers to think.
America needs to confront Isis, not with arms, but with policy. We need to support moderate Muslims in defense of their homelands against Isis. We need to be fearless in our protection of the innocent. We should take in refugees, and provide aid to those battling extremism, and we could do this safely with but a little forethought. Failure to aid the Muslims fleeing Isis is to prove Isis’s assertions true to the greater Muslim world. Such a policy failure is likely to cause Isis to grow. The last thing we need is a new crusade, or a more bigotry inspired by fear; that would be letting the extremists win.