Saturday, January 14, 2006
Right Islam Vs Wrong Islam
From the pages of the WSJ Editorials, by Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia: "News organizations report that Osama bin Laden has obtained a religious edict from a misguided Saudi cleric, justifying the use of nuclear weapons against America, and the infliction of mass casualties. It requires great emotional strength to confront the potential ramifications of this fact. Yet can anyone doubt that those who joyfully incinerate the occupants of office buildings, commuter trains, hotels, and nightclubs would leap at the chance to magnify their damage a thousandfold?"
"Imagine the impact of a single nuclear bomb detonated in New York... what about 2 or 3? The entire edifice of modern civilization is built on economic and technological foundations that terrorists hope to collapse with nuclear attacks like so many fishing huts in the wake of a tsunami."
"...we must set aside our international and partisan bickering, and join to confront the danger that lies before us."
If the "essence of Islam" is encapsulated in the words of the Quran, "For you, your religion; for me, my religion" then that is the essence of tolerance. But what of those who justify the brutality of terrorism with slogans like "Islam Above Everything Else!" And what of suicide bombers now appearing on public posters like star athletes on Corn Flake boxes: "You should be very proud of me, it's an honor, and you will see the results, and everybody will be happy."
Do these people not know which of these views they believe? And if not, why not? A literal and highly selective reading of the Quran apparently suggests (I have not read it) that most of the rest of us are infidels to be slaughtered.
According to Wahid they have 1. An agressive program with clear ideological and political goals. 2. Immense funding from oil-rich sponsors. 3. The ability to distribute these funds to impoverished areas to buy loyalty and power. 4. A claim of religious authority. 5. An appeal to Islamic pride, and identity, and history. 5. The ability to blend into the much larger moderate masses. 6. Full-time commitment by its leadership. 7. An absence of organized opposition in the Islamic world. 8. Networks of schools that propagate terrorism, and scholarships for future leaders. 9. A global network of imams to distribute its ideology throughout the world. 10. Internet communication. And, finally, the reluctance of many governments to control this entire process. And we're worried about some wiretapping of phones and computers!
What's going on here?