The Western Lens: Faith, fanaticism and fantasy in the Middle East
Sept 18 2014
This article starts by identifying a point of contention in President Obamas speech about ISIS and the growing Islamic state. The point in reference was a statement in President Obamas speech that the Islamic state “is not Islamic” because “No religion condones the killing of innocents…” The writer of the article postulates that neither of these points bare scrutiny but I beg to differ. The writer continues by acknowledging that Christians and Muslims have been involved in their share of intra and inter religious conflicts. This is all true but he goes on to suggest that OBAMA’S statement is letting the Islamic state “off the hook” and that intense action should be taken. Clifford May posits that mosques and madrassas that “promote jihadism” should be defunded. As if that were a fair solution to an intra-religious issue, a religion I might add, the writer is not a part of. It is clear that this article is being written through the western Christian worldview, why? Because the writer ignores the internal conflicts that face todays Christian communities by only bringing to light one historical conflict. If the tables were turned and an Islamic writer proposed the defunding of churches due to their fundamentalist beliefs (Creationism vs. Evolution for an example) this man, as well as the Christian community would be up in arms. This article treats Islam, including its fundamentalists as “the greatest threats to civilization”. This is obtuse and bias to say the least. Not only is he neglecting to acknowledge his own governments role in the violence around the world but further neglects the truly pressing issues facing our world today. Global climate change, Abject Poverty, The impending financial collapse all serve, independently and collectively, a greater threat to a “global village” than a group of religious fundamentalists. Further the writer brings criticism towards Turkey for not taking an active stance in “helping crack down on the Islamic State”. Having noted that Israel (an American ally) is the only non-Muslim ruled state in the Middle East, it should come as no surprise that Turkey wouldn’t take harsh action against a group which shares a religion with the majority of its people. Let us mirror an American example for clarity. The United States is approx. composed of 76% Christians. All of the Presidents in the last twenty years have been at least remotely, if not outright Christian. If a particular sect of Christianity within the United States took up fundamentalist positions on Human rights (such as Same-Sex marriage) could we honestly expect their government to “crack down” on them? Or is it more likely that they would be protected under their religious freedom? This article is among many that continue to paint Islam with the brush of their violent fundamentalists, which is unfair both to the people and the tradition of Islam.