UI – Part 210 – Rebirth of Islamic Fundamentalism (2 of 3)
Leftists or Rightists
Leftists or Rightists?
Poltical Fundamentalists are viewed at times as Leftists. This is a reference to the Political Left, or those active supporting Government control, big Government making decisions for the people, using entitlements to provide support for the masses, at subsistence levels, their interpretation of the Quran (and for many chosen or selected Sunnah and Hadiths) applied, religious scholars at the right or left hand of the leaders, with ‘justified by Allah’ repeated to maintain order. There is an element of blasphemy in all this, I say. This is the order of the created, not the creator. They seek a Theocracy, justifying actions in Allah’s name, and limiting their governance to only Muslims. All others are to be eliminated, erased, extirpated, and removed from this man-made environment.
The extreme fundamentalist movement is as much ultra-conservative, or Rightist, in the moral vindication they accord their actions under the banner of the Shahadah – Islam. They are not righteous people, by any standard, however, self-righteous, and certainly not righteous in God’s eyes. Their actions when properly analyzed are simply ungodly. If you consider as civilized suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, imprisonment and torture of ministers of alternative religions, using deadly gas on those of a similar culture (as in Syria), the call for death to those who leave Islam, an absence of tolerance, and the removal of dissenters from the streets and cities within the middle east, whether Mulim or not, you too have been terminally impacted by a history of repeated false claims made by Islamic fundamentalists.
The Islamists may take a ‘go-slow’ approach. They call it ‘dawah.’ Christians call it proselytizing. In Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan, however, is now using strong arm tactics, having taken a ‘go-slow’ approach throughout his political career; his hidden agenda is now more obvious. He wants to modify secular Turkey and return this Muslim Country to more of a theocracy. People are beginning to resist. Islamic Fundamentalists have always had problems with secularism[i] and nationalism[ii] in government. But through the influence and funding from the Muslim Brotherhood and allied organizations Erdogan has become more extreme, leaning towards a change from secular Turkey to a more theocratic, politically Islamic, Turkey.
What is odd, and a reality, in the Muslim theocracies the powerful, the politically connected and well-placed in the Middle East tend to become the owners of industry (what of it there is), utilities, or businesses, and in turn the most wealthy, also having sizable Swiss bank accounts. Their beginnings may have been humble, yet with little success in business and much success in the military or government, or in the ideological religiosity of Islam, they become as rich as the magnate’s of creative and industrious enterprises. They may gain also, it is suspected, through corruptive practices, cronyism, bribery and even a personal sharing of the aide received from foreign countries, their vigorish taken prior to distribution to the needy. This is the nature of the leaders of the Middle Eastern Theocracies under Allah. Who would not want to be free of such oppressive practices by those who are emboldened Leaders?
Who would consider their actions and practices inspired by God?
We need to update ourselves on the Arab Spring.
The Arab Spring movement is miss-characterized. It is not fundamentalist, rightist or leftist, even as some attempt to call it such. That is because it is anti-government, against the oppressive and selfish autocracies that are in place. Most people believe the members of the uprisings have a more moderate and tolerant mindset when compared to those whose Muslim faith is more restrictive, or literal. The group protests for and wanting jobs, yet still calls out for government benefits. Thus there is an undercurrent of anti-capitalism. The Movement is against over-bearing restrictive authority that suppresses human rights, but respects government, if elected by popular vote, free elections. Accustomed to entitlements this group seeks on-going benefits without fully appreciative of the consequences. They recognize a lack of job opportunities, but do not want to be poor, especially in a country they know may be rich in natural resources. They remain culturally Muslim, but there is confusion as to the laws that apply, be it Sharia (but by whose definition) or secular laws (which they prefer). They see Allah as the highest authority deserving their respect, but desire ‘peace’, not the ‘fighting’ as called for in the Quran.
The bottom line – the Arab Spring is a youth movement. It is anti-Islamist, anti-autocracy, anti-Sharia (Islamic) Law, and anti-Theocracy. It is anti-Islamic Fundamentalism. It is against Political Islamism. Even those now protesting in Turkey are expressing outrage towards a possible return to Islamism, aspects of Islam the youth there have never encountered. It is Turkey’s own Arab Spring. Turkey is a democracy (as to free elections) with secular laws, the common good respected, but with changes in attitude now seen arising influenced by fundamentalist Islamist ideals. It is 99% culturally Muslim, yet the scholarship of Islamism is not dominant. Erdogan is the face or cause of the uprisings..
The resistance towards the Arab Spring, the dissent voiced by the youth, is by those seeking important positions of authority without free elections. Greedy, selfish, desperate, and ruling officials resist. The actions of those protesting object to and can potentially undermine the greed and desires of the powerful,
Islamic scholars are not in agreement as to whom to fight or not to fight, but if it comes to fighting it will always be against the infidel and/or apostate, or those openly objecting the dictates of their leaders, religious and otherwise. The culture of the Quran and Allah as god is a handy excuse useful to maintain autocracies, authority, dominance and control. Even if it requires violence. History has demonstrated that the outcome when men collectively amass forces against others in the name of god is never good for humanity. Whose side you are on depends on what scholar (ulema) you follow and the extent of obedience you have to that authority. Those in power choose the scholar that offers them the best excuse for their actions in the name of Allah. In some cases the leaders of government are pawns for the religious mullas. Case in point – Iran.
The more moderate, as is the outside view of the Arab Spring participants, are willing to live side-by-side with infidels and homosexuals, sharing individual rights equally with men and/or women. They want their government and police to be balanced in approach to all people. They wish to walk hand-in-hand with those they love, even sharing moments of affection publicly, and wear modern day dress without threat of attack by those that disagree with their choices. They no longer wish to hide behind the Hijab or Burka, or not be able to look a person of another sex in the eye. Women want to choose for themselves whether to wear head-covering or not. They want to share their feelings and be respected for who they are. They enjoy social media and wish to express themselves, in tweets, cartoons, or text, even if at times they be critical of their own faith, or government. They are not rude, or disrespectful. They just want to be heard. Often those who have access to the Bible, many smuggled into their Countries or areas, begin to see the light of understanding and Truth and relish the freedom it offers. Regardless they prefer having the opportunity to read the Bible (if they so choose) and make their own choice as to who to follow. They want to be free to decide whether there is a God of Truth that may not be Allah?
Re: Arab Spring: From director of “Blue is the Warmest Colour[iii]” by French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche, “They also have this aspiration to live free, to express themselves freely and to love in full freedom.”
They do not want to suppress their change in attitude. They find the Biblical love of neighbor more than tolerable, and wholly acceptable. They would prefer not to remain constrained as a Muslim, but free to love God, not forced.
Many Muslims, and there are many, who believe not in Allah, or have a great degree of uncertainty, must remain quiet, repressing their true feelings or desire for further exploration. This is out of pure fear. The desire of those calling for change want oppressive government and restrictions on independent thought stopped. Why should an Egyptian cartoonist that makes mild fun of Muhammad be jailed?
The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates is using fear as a tool against those within its own culture that do not share the Wahhabist funamentalism or political Islamist theocratic ideals. Unsuspecting Muslims, moderates, are encouraged to join forces, be financially helped, be taught the ways of the fundamentalist, , and beyond an Islamist education they may be offered military training. For their assistance, monetarily, there is a quid pro quo. If after saying ‘yes’, a noviciate changes their mind, there can be consequences.
The Flow of Creativity – Change
And, as to ‘opportunity’, just how creative juices flow in the Muslim world is an unknown. An historical lack of progress and invention in the area concerns outsiders. For many years it has been all religion, no invention, with the development of natural resources coming from outsiders; the spoils of production supporting the nations (the leadership primarily). What is the profile of the changing Muslim? Or are they really changing? Is there resistance to change, and if so, by whom. The answer to the last question, I feel, is ‘yes’, there is resistance to change, and the ‘by whom’ are those having enjoyed ‘power’ and are not willing to yield. It is also by the Muslim Brotherhood and its many related factions who want more than an Ideal Islamic State, but an Ideal Islamic World structured along the lines of Wahhabist interpretations of the Quran. Resistance to change is a common story, going back even to Jesus when the people sought his leadership and guidance which concerned those in ‘power’. Those in high places, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, came to believe they were threatened; their ‘power’ usurped, or suspected, and sought to eliminate the perceived threat. They succeeded (they thought), but at the same time changed the world. Never did they anticipate the miracle of the Resurrection.
Those in Power will always make the effort to quell any dissent. This is a common practice by Middle Eastern leaders. The water cannon spewing forth over throngs of resisters is the picture in one’s mind where dissent is to be watered down. Erdogan has taken to the streets in and around Taksim Gazi Park spraying the occupiers who call him ‘fascist’, a murderer, and more. He refers to them as “few in number, naïve in outlook, and extremist in nature.” But, they do not want a return to Islamist practices. They want the government and its leadership to leave their secular legal structure alone. Erdogan does not agree with them.
Suppression of dissent is made difficult in free nations. Dissent needs to be heard, with adjustments made as needed to satisfy the people governed. It is the voice of the people. Non-violent dissent is preferred. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of conscious, and an ability to deal with persecution, verbal persecution, doubts, disagreements, and debate, whether expressed in cartoons, in writings, in books, is to be openly allowed and encouraged. Open minds can absorb the truth and make their own choices. God may guide them, but it is God not man, men or governments, that makes what is true clear. Do not be confused by those in denial.
For those behind the Arab Spring they saw an opportunity for change and to modernize. They are losing in the aftermath to those who were deceitful and embraced the over-throw of an administration as a chance to gain control themselves, as is the case for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Much has occurred to the detriment of the cause. And the rise of fundamentalism has happened because doors to such radical ideas that were closed, to include prison cell enclosures, were opened. Radicals were freed. Dictators, America helped in some cases remove, dictators who kept the radicals at bay, are gone and the views of the radicals, political and Islamist are being heard, organized and supported. The radical fundamentalist Islamist ideas have found a voice and a forum to exercise their ancient programs. The programs they propose are imperialistic, striving to conquer the entire world under the black banner of the Shahadah. Inherent in their speech is ‘hatred’, hatred for anything not in compliance with their rule of law (Wahhabist – Sharia)
Beware of the rebels, however, that gather for freedom yet are corruptible and subject to an education of hatred and deceit. They may emerge as fundamentalists, co-opted, united by the anti-American sentiment, hatred, and the anti-freedom symphony being conducted by the Islamists.
The dilemma in Syria pits Iran vs Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah vs Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda (the Rebel’s support group), possibly Russia vs USA. President Obama has decided, due to the use of chemical weapons by Assad, to provide small arms to the Rebels. This is not an easy choice and one that can lead down the road to America being proven to have supported Political Fundamentalist Islamists who hate the West, our ideals, and our freedoms. Not to dissimilar to Afghanistan in the late 70’s -early 80’s. Did we need to make such a decision? What was the alternative? What happens to the non-Muslims, or the moderates (many elimiated in Afghanistan), the Christians and the Jews? We need to support those who will have some respect for America after, be thankful, and not use the weapons we provide against us in the future.
More on this topic next week (part 3).
Grace and Peace
[i] Secularism: from Dictionary (App), “Secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.”
[ii] Nationalism: from Dictionary (App), (1) “devotion and loyalty to one’s own nation, patriotism.” (2) “the policy or doctrine of asserting interests of one’s own nation, viewed as separate from the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations.”
[iii] This year’s (2013) darling of the Cannes Film Festival; to many people it is objectionable as to the graphic depictions of lesbian love. Yet it won the Cannes prize, Palm d’Or.