The lead in should say enough to get you interested.
I want you to watch the video first to get an understanding of one side of the table. I’ll give you my perspective afterward. Take the time to really question where it is you find yourself on the spectrum of the issue as it is one that people don’t often ask very often. There are plenty of news sites and information out there that people can learn biased and exploitative facts. Very rarely do people get the chance to hear two sides of the issue and decide for themselves. Please, decide for yourself.
The panel was put tasked with answering questions about whether or not terrorists use a warped sense of Islam or is the nature of the religion something to take into account. Let me first start by saying that if the nature of the religion itself was destructive and warring like the General suggests then wouldn’t it stand to reason that there would be way more conflicts to cite through the years? Even our political commentators speculate on the matter, and here is where I turn to Glenn beck. The man is an obvious muckracker who should not be taken seriously by anyone, yet he persists as the face of reason in some circles. Beck has suggested that 10% of the Muslim world are terrorists. Well, thank god he’s a fucking idiot.
Fareed Zakaria calls Beck out for being the prickbag that he is, “Let’s do a bit of math here… There are 1,570,000,000 Muslims worldwide. Take ten percent of those Muslims and you get 157,000,000. That’s how many Muslim terrorists Glenn Beck is suggesting there are in the world.” The reality of the situation is that the figure of Islamic terrorists is closer to 1%. So then how do people understand the message of Islam as being violent?
Well it stands to reason that Islam is seen as an antagonist to someone, clearly they’ve pissed someone off enough to go up-in-arms and take a stand against a group of people. Enter in the United States of America and Al Qaeda. I do not need to elaborate on the events which have brought us into the war in Afghanistan or Iraq but I will elaborate on the rarities that don’t make it to public broadcasting.
There is an ideology of the terrorist agenda that people need to understand. Let me back up even further and suggest that there is an even greater understanding into the American ideology that needs a lengthy discussion to expound the elements of contention. You see, while we give men and women guns and use technology to track insurgents through areas where innocent civilians are being targeted as ideological followers of Islam, we use the one thing we know – they are not Americans.
What you hear time and time again is our patriotic definition and devout nationalism. We protect our democratic rights of freedom, liberty and the service men and women who fight for our country and those innocent people who perished in the attacks of September 11. What did I really just say though? We believe that Islam perpetrated an ideological “attack” on democracy through the hijacking of our planes, a symbolic gesture of seizure of power. We believe that our war in Iraq is one of establishing freedom against the dictatorship of Saddam. We continue to fight insurgents and terrorists in the region so that our hold of democratic values are not lost; so that we have not lost the war. How do we do it? We fight the ideology of Islam.
What is the ideology of Al Qaeda and those that we fight? “Views of al Qaeda are complex. Majorities agree with nearly all al Qaeda’s goals to change US behavior in the Muslim world, to promote Islamist governance, and to preserve and affirm Islamic identity. However, consistent with the general rejection of attacks on civilians, only minorities say they approve of al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans as well as its goals, suggesting that many may feel ambivalence.” They wish to change our globalizing effect. to change how our democratic principles means exporting our ideology elsewhere. believe it or not, some people have their own way of life that does not involve capitalism, materialism and the struggle for status that has caused such a laughable disparity of wealth when you consider how easily we all buy into a system, just because it privileges US.
One third of our nation’s wealth is held by the top 1%. Why do we persist then, if 99% of us aren’t benefiting nearly as much as that 1%? Well, here is our ideology at work again. “Death of a Salesmen” has taught us that our work ethic is a never-ending search and struggle for white picket fences and the nuclear family of the 50s. We’ve replaced that with skyscrapers and modernity which has us searching for answers in higher education and what we call “opportunities”, which are all well and good if you’re a white, heterosexual male. Otherwise, your chances of success drop significantly. So here is our American ideology propped up on all of this tremendous wealth and power and international influence that we’ve all bought into, with varying degrees of approval, for the benefit of our consistency in a world we can understand. It’s of no surprise that an ideology of contention that seeks to disrupt our comfort would immediately concern EVERYONE in power and rouse a coalition across all political boundaries because, let’s face it, politics is nothing more than philosophy for the rich.
Enter in our friend, the General, with his disparaging remarks for Islam and it’s practitioners. Well, let me further the understand of Islam with a short, but effective, comparison to something we are all more-or-less familiar with – Christianity. Whether you are Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Episcopalian, Seventh Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Anglican, Latter Day Saints, etc. they all fly under the flag of Christian. In fact, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia (year 2000 version), global Christianity had 33,820 denominations with 3,445,000 congregations/churches composed of 1,888 million affiliated Christians. Read more: (Christianity). That’s a lot of Christians with a varying degree of adherence to the Bible, the belief in Jesus as a Man/God/trinity and how one should practice. It stands to reason that this variance would be true in other religions as well…
Islam has two major types: Sunni – comprising about 85% of Islamic followers; and Shi’a – comprising the other 15% or so. There are also a handful of Sufi Muslims that are more akin to an inner, mystical sect. The main divide between these two sects has to do with the rightful caliph, a rough equivalent to a Christian Pope, and the disagreement happened in 765 AD. With basic information in mind, how can one say that this group of roughly 1.5 billion people are monolithic? Well, for one: it’s easier to perceive the enemy as one, simple identity. That way when civilians are killed there’s no remorse (less PTSD) for soldiers who believe that the enemy is every Muslim. In fact, saying that all Muslims are of the same ideological beliefs would also help in constituting support domestically from those who are ignorant enough to never crack a book about Islam, it’s adherents or it’s core beliefs.
This is why I went to college and became a Global Studies major. This is why I’m a religious studies minor. After 9/11, I realized my ignorance and began a journey of knowledge to separate myself from the ideology of consistency (systematic brainwashing of American citizens) and began to try and understand the world around me. If there’s one thing I charge whoever reads this with: Seek out knowledge and truth for yourself. Be critical of sources. Never stop questioning. Never believe what people tell you. Make a decision for yourself. Please, go forth and do something about it.