Colonialism, the Radical (RELS 348)

In the article “Moderate Sunni Islam leader blames Zionism and ‘new colonialism’ for Middle East collapse” written on February 23 by Richard Spencer on the issues of the Middle East, Richard reports that a moderate Sunni leader blames Zionism and new colonialism for these issues. Zionism which is the development and protection of Israel as a Jewish nation is accused at working with new world colonialism (which is meant to describe the US) at breaking up Muslim and Arab society. The moderate leader says that these forces are responsible for the revolutionary turmoil in Egypt and elsewhere. He continues to state that Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the fear that more places, all were or will be destroyed due to the unrest.

This article I found relevant to empire, colonialism and religion in many ways. First I want to address the fact that in the article the moderate leader claimed that colonialism is the same as it always was “Divide and conquer”. It is quite peculiar that when one truly compares strategies and ways in which colonialism is undertaken not much has changed from when for example Britain and their ‘sun never sets’ colonized all over the world. When we reflect on the history lessons of colonialism it is hardly ever straightforward and revolutions and revolts (ex. The Indian mutiny) always seem to be by-products of colonialism. When one takes a look at empires today such as Pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine and the constant influence of America over the globe, unrest and turmoil are apparent in all of these places. It seems that there exists a relation between colonialism and turmoil and unrest. Thus I tend to agree with the leader on this point that colonialism never changes.

Secondly when colonialism takes place it is self-evident that there will be an introduction to a new religion. When groups come to colonize ideas and values are brought and introduced to the people. Now what I believe happens is that since there are (mainly) two religions coming into conflict two possible outcomes can happen. One, a religion can die out and the other takes over, or two, the non-imposing religion can radicalize and become extreme. As pointed out in the article the territory held by Isil was bombed after the killing of twenty plus Egyptian Christians. Not only does this show that there were two religions in play but Isil seemed to radicalize and become hostile towards the imposing religion. Not only in this example but in many examples, such as Nazi Germany, we see radical groups arising and targeting religious or ethnic groups.

Now considering the two points made above I must agree with the leader’s statements. I do believe that (mainly) colonialism is a big factor and deserves to be a scapegoat for the collapse of the Middle East. Religion is a unique commitment/belief that people have and it is something that is not easily changed. That is why I find it very dangerous when groups impose their religion on others. It is human nature for one to defend themselves when attacked, regardless of the cost. I believe that the colonialism of nations, more particular US in this case are in a way imposing and attacking other groups religion by attempting at controlling these areas. In response I believe that these attacked groups do indeed become defensive and become as said radical or extreme. This chain reaction I think provides ample evidence that the Sunni leader is correct in his accusation. I also believe that as a united nations we the people need to recognize the diversity of religion and culture and not impose or attempt at controlling others. #uwreligions


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