I’ve been challenged lately on my own attitudes on this seemingly mysterious and often maligned religion. I was talking to a co-worker recently, discussing the atrocities happening in Syria by what many describe as ‘extremists’ or ‘not representative’ of true Islam. His argument was that if you take religion out of the equation, these people would still be killing each other. His hypothesis was that these people were poorly educated, have age-old grudges and are a product of years of colonial oppression. My question to him was how do we account for the many British, American and now Australians that are volunteering to fight for the IS. These men (and women) have often come from middle-class backgrounds, have been educated in Western institutions and generally have not been subject to colonial oppression (to the contrary, they have benefited from ‘colonialism’!). My well-read friend could not supply me with an answer for this.
Without a doubt, Islam gets a bad wrap. I’l profess my own ignorance – I’ve never read the Koran. I’ve never visited a mosque. I’ve only had surface interactions with Muslims – many of which have been good neighbors, hard working family people. Without a doubt, you could probably write an article about the ills of Christianity, Hinduism or even Buddhism. The only thing is these religions aren’t on a crazy murderin’ land-grab exercize at the moment.
In my last post, I copped a bit of flack for linking Islam with terrorism and neglecting more hidden crimes that have dramatic impacts on people. This post isn’t about linking terrorism with Islam (and even though there’s thousands of Muslims gung-ho on the terrorism thing at the moment, they thankfully don’t represent the real Islam!). What I want to explore is what is the real Islam. It’s a question that no one has yet been able to explain to me.
If I look at ‘grown up’ or ‘civilised’ Islamic countries, the outlook isn’t pretty.
Saudi Arabia does not allow women to drive.
Iran has state approved Islamic beards and haircuts.
Indonesia condones kicking Christians out of churches.
Sudan’s interpretation of Sharia demands female genital mutilation.
The brand of non-representative Islam marching through the Middle East takes a fairly liberal approach to killing Christians and ethnic minorities.
Hamas in Gaza (another non-representative Islamic group) is keen on using their own as human shields whilst lobbing missiles over into Israel.
In Christianity, there’s a stack of groups who’s sole focus is helping the sick, feeding the poor and standing up for the marginalised. Christianity has many figures who passionately fought for human rights and dignity for the poor. Indeed, you don’t need to look far to see the crimes that have been undertaken in the name of the church.
Why don’t we hear of Muslim counterparts? Where are the Martin Luther Kings of Islam? Where’s the Muslim Mother Theresa? I can think of a couple of outstanding representatives of Islam here in Australia – men and women that seem to see-saw the difficult balance between honoring the obligations to their faith and their country. Where are the champions that are passionately fighting for inclusion, rather than those passionately fighting for segregation and Sharia?
What I want to know is what is the real Islam. If it’s not IS beheadings, what is it? If it’s not women having the vote, what is it? If it’s not being gaoled for sodomy, what is it? If it’s not stoning for leaving the house without a male relative chaperon, what is it? If it’s not female genital mutilation, what is it? If it’s not multiple wives (and women left destitute in divorce), what is it? If it’s not a tax on ‘infidels’, what is it?
No one yet has been able to explain to me what benefit it is for Australia embrace or welcome this ideology. How this religion, which we are so often told is the religion of peace, seems to swathe a path of destruction?
Would someone please tell me what the real Islam is, and if what they say is the real Islam, would they be able to argue it to a jihadi warrior? Would it be in conflict, or harmony with their end goals?
Image from https://etyman.wordpress.com/tag/koran/