Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Islamic State burns 45 people to death in Iraq


I mentioned this in an earlier article today, you will hear nothing about this at President Obama's summit on "violent extremism."

From the BBC:
Jihadist militants from Islamic State (IS) have burned to death 45 people in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, the local police chief says.

Exactly who these people were and why they were killed is not clear, but Col Qasim al-Obeidi said he believed some were members of the security forces.

IS fighters captured much of the town, near Ain al-Asad air base, last week.

Col Obeidi said a compound that houses the families of security personnel and local officials was now under attack.

He pleaded for help from the government and the international community.

The fighting and poor communications in the area make it difficult to confirm such reports.

Earlier this month, IS published a video showing militants burning alive a Jordanian air force pilot, whose plane crashed in Syria in December.

Read more....

I think our problem dealing with Islam is that we look at it just as a religion. At one level it is that, but Islam is also a political movement. I think the real problems arise when Muslims and we mix the two. Let’s start with the fact that the prophet Muhammad was also a warrior and conqueror. Already in his lifetime he led a conflict with Mecca that culminated in its conquest and later that of the whole of Arabia.

This was a man who most definitely mixed religion with the politics of conquest, or if you prefer, forceful proselytizing, including that he might have created and used religion in order to control better those that he led. If you read history you know that his followers set out to methodically conquer the lands around them; then parts of Europe, notably Al-Andalus consisting of most of Spain and Portugal; and later, with the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Byzantine or Roman Empire of the East, which became the Ottoman empire that at one point reached from Algiers and Budapest in the West and North, to Baghdad and major parts of Arabia including Mecca and Medina, but excluding most Bedouin tribes that were arguably ungovernable.

This mixing of the politics of conquest with religion as the instrument to hold the conquered lands together, is in very sharp contrast with the Christian attitude, that started with Jesus himself, of “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

To treat the two religions as if they were comparable, other than technically as sets of rules to govern human behavior, is an act of absolute ignorance. One is a religion of peace and salvation, the other of subjugation.

In the West the secular and religious started going their own separate ways with the 11th century Gregorian Reform (Harold J. Berman, “Law and Revolution,” Harvard,1983, starting at page 85) a separation that reached its pinnacle with the American and French revolutions.

Arguably this also happened in Islam, but less decidedly. In Saudi Arabia for well over 200 years there has been a governing partnership between the very religious House of Wahhab that still controls education and the thought police, and the more secular House of Saud that controls the administrative apparatus. And then of course there is the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when the religious leaders took over overall control of the country and its government.

So while in the West there has been a decided separation between the secular and religious worlds for governing purposes, this has not happened in Islam and there remain some very major exceptions.

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