Thursday, February 19, 2015

President Obama claims there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist

Obama-drinkingThe biggest joke being played on the American people today is to pretend there is a "summit" of 60 coalition members to fight terrorism going on in Washington. Sounds big, and the propaganda leading to it spoke of the 60 coalition countries coming together, along with a whole bunch of American "leaders" of all sorts, but realistically all it was or is, is a large community gathering to talk about community grievances, stuff like lack of jobs and pathways to peace.

Mr. President, that's not going to stop the religion inspired beheadings and live burnings. Wake up.

Maybe it's not a problem of all of Islam but there are 1.5 billion Muslims and according to the Pew Reasearch center 22% believe in some form of jihadism. You do the math.

Oh, and while you are at it, consider that beheading is accepted as an official form of punishment for certain crimes in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism on Thursday, President Obama claimed that there is "no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist.

"We are here today because of a very specific challenge  -- and that’s countering violent extremism, something that is not just a matter of military affairs.  By 'violent extremism,' we don’t just mean the terrorists who are killing innocent people.  We also mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists --the propagandists, the recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence.

"We all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist, so there’s no way to predict who will become radicalized.  Around the world, and here in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths -- which is, of course, a betrayal of all our faiths.  It's not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time.

"Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders -- holy warriors in defense of Islam.  That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”  And they propagate the notion that America -- and the West, generally -- is at war with Islam.  That’s how they recruit.  That’s how they try to radicalize young people.  We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.  Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek.  They are not religious leaders -- they’re terrorists.  And we are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.

"Now, just as those of us outside Muslim communities need to reject the terrorist narrative that the West and Islam are in conflict, or modern life and Islam are in conflict, I also believe that Muslim communities have a responsibility as well.  Al Qaeda and ISIL do draw, selectively, from the Islamic texts.  They do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the Muslim faith, that Islam is somehow inherently violent, that there is some sort of clash of civilizations.

"Of course, the terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology.  They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism.  No religion is responsible for terrorism.  People are responsible for violence and terrorism," President Obama said.

Let’s get it straight that there is absolutely no comparison between the foundations and history of Christianity and Islam. Jesus was a man of peace; occasionally someone under his influence might have shown their uglier human side and strayed, but that in no way changed the fact that Christianity was founded as a religion of peace to save man from himself. Mohammad was the complete opposite, a man driven by conquest.

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.

Back to the beginning, what we have to ask ourselves is where are the reformers in Islam that carry the same authority as did those who led the American and French revolutions, but most particularly those who then wrote the American Constitution with its First Amendment.

That’s what Obama missed.

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