Is Islam really to blame?

I’ve grown increasingly troubled by the rhetoric focused on Muslims in America. For more than 15 years now, Muslims have been targeted by fearful Americans that do not understand Islam or the teachings of Islam and it’s promotion of peace and complete rejection of violence. What is interesting though is that there is blood on both sides of the fence and we need to hold up some mirrors to see the true enemy. What I don’t understand is why a double-standard exists when there is clearly verifiable violence perpetrated from Christians as there is from radial Islamists. Something about a pot and kettle…..

Islam is inherently violent, Christianity is inherently peaceful, and there is no such thing as a Christian terrorist or a white male terrorist. But the facts don’t bear that out. Far-right white male radicals and extreme Christianists are every bit as capable of acts of terrorism as radical Islamists, and to pretend that such terrorists don’t exist does the public a huge disservice.

SOURCE: 10 of the Worst Terror Attacks by Extreme Christians and Far-Right White Men

We don’t need to review our current events of the last few decades either, there is history of Christians being violent in our distant past as well. The Crusades were overruns of countries, spreading the word, with bloody and violent encounters with people who didn’t immediately yield to the Church.

…unite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom, which had been divided since their split in the East–West Schism of 1054, and establish himself (Pope Urban II) as head of the unified Church. Similarly, some of the hundreds of thousands of people who became crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the church were peasants hoping for Apotheosis at Jerusalem, or forgiveness from God for all their sins. Others, historians argue, participated to satisfy feudal obligations, gain glory and honour, or find opportunities for economic and political gain. Regardless of the motivation, the response to Urban’s preaching by people of many different classes across Western Europe established the precedent for later crusades.

SOURCE: Crusades

From the beginning, our young country had established this precedent that Anglo-Saxon enlightenment was the only true way of life and anything that threatened that had to be removed or eliminated. Our expansion into the West displaced hundreds of thousands of civilized Indian tribes from lands that they had occupied for generations prior to any “white man” setting foot on North American soil. Our own arrogance as “Americans” justified our belief that we were saving Indians from having to adapt into our Eastern culture.

Expansion and Indian removal created some phenomenal problems for the new American nation in terms of its moral character. How can this unique experiment in the new world — this nation that prided itself upon its democratic institutions, force Native American people westward? How do you rationalize the taking of land and the usurpation of property?

The argument that was used was, “This had to be done to save these poor Indian people. They don’t fit in the East, so we have to move them out beyond the frontier where they can do their Indian thing unmolested. This is the only possible way to save them.”

The hypocrisy of this is obvious because many of the people, though not all of them, who were removed were very sophisticated and relatively “civilized” people. For example, the literacy rate of the Cherokee nation is higher than that of the white South up through the Civil War, yet the tribe was moved westward as an uncivilized people, so that their land could be open for American expansion.

SOURCE: Manifest Destiny: Native American Displacement Amid U.S. Expansion

I hope this gets out to a wider audience because after having written all of this in one place, it makes me physically ill that we’re STILL, in 2016, thinking like we did in the 11th century, 17th century, 19th century, and the 21st century. Time to get a new blueprint, because replacing the target of our hate is getting old and will eventually come back to bite us.

I’ve started listening to understand. What would happen if more did that?

20 thoughts on “Is Islam really to blame?

  1. I hope this gets out, too. As a medievalist, when I read the primary sources about the Crusades, I was sickened and would have to stop and walk away. Specifically, there were recountings by crusaders of walking into a church where the local church had been hiding local heathens, and wading through blood that went up to the knees, climbing over the bodies of slain women and children to wrest holy artifacts. Then, in the later crusades, where the crusaders thought, “why go all the way to the holy land when we can fight heathens right here?” Reading the accounts of Jewish people being burned alive and the churchmen who hid them being strung up in front of the remains … left me feeling desolate. And so many people don’t realize just how long hate has brought us to our knees. All this to say – thank you for writing this! This tired one should have been in bed hours ago!

  2. Good piece my friend….I have spent a lot of time telling people that what they see and hear is not what a “typical” Muslim is like….none want to remember all the things that Muslims have given the world over the centuries….I am always pointing out the discrepancies in the thinking as I can….

    The one I dislike the most is the accusation that ALL Muslims want to kill the “infidel”…that is just a lie….even in war torn Iraq there is a bit of coming together…..http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/christmas-iraq-christians-minorities.html?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=manual&utm_campaign=20161227&bt_ee=6RSd5gzlV07S5FQi1S+pMahYudSVkKODG6a84WbyVQRuFBHm/sNbZ+b9y4wFZzrh&bt_ts=1482861456811

    I will help get your thoughts out…..well done….chuq

  3. I’m a humanist, so I believe in science, logic and doing what’s right because of my own internal ethics and the evidence I see around me. I don’t need a god to tell me what’s right and I can’t use god to justify what I do. The trouble is that some people use religion as an excuse to justify their selfish actions… and the religion in question can be any one they choose.

  4. Great post but in my humble opinion, “Apples and Oranges” or “He said’ She Said.” Islam is as violent as anything can be and yes, Christianity has had its share of violence as well. No argument there. I am fully aware that the small percentage of terror attacks on US Soil has been perped by “White Supremacist Terrorists” but I will give you to believe that in 99% of the reported cases of terrorism here and abroad it can usually (and most often is) traced back to something with an Islamic smell to it. The comparison you are trying to make is unbalanced on the scales of reality. Yes, there are a few (damned few in comparison) Whitey-responsible terror attacks on American Soil but normally terror in America and around the world is strictly the province of Muslims or idiot wannabe Muslims who have problems with interpretations of what their spiritual icon was trying to say in the 132 violent passages of the Muslim holy book. My blueprint might still be residing in the 11th century but guess what! The minute some walking garbage bag lays a back pack, a package or a suitcase or briefcase or anything of such nature downi beside me in a public park or restaurant and leaves, I am going to get up and absent myself from that place while dialing my phone to call police. There will be no exceptions to this because I am not yet a blind, ignorant fool who cannot understand that what I am reading about going on in Boston, Paris, Germany, California and elsewhere is real, a very present danger and something that only a fool would fail to fear. I am too fond of my body parts to ride with the “We are as bad as some of them” argument because it is such arguments as these that can cost lives when people listen to them, believe them and let down their guard. Trying to protect my own rear end and the rear ends of my loved ones has nothing at all to do with a double standard …. It has everything to do with a standard that we used to call “Common Sense” and I am not going to be swayed by politically correct nonsense. Nothing personal here. Just offering my response to your most wonderful, carefully-thought out and challenging article.

    • Thank you for the comment. I agree on most points here and am not advocating that we let our guards down or be less aware of our surroundings when violence is being conducted. The point I was attempting to make is that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge a Muslim without first acknowledging that Anglo-Saxons (white caucasians) have had a similar history of being brutal and single-minded in the face of a perceived enemy. There is a better way than blind fear that rejects everything that doesn’t fit into a neat little box. I see a Muslim and don’t immediately think they’re a terrorist wanting to do me or people around me harm without something to alert me to that fact. Leaving a backpack, wearing a heavy coat on a 75F day, etc. In that case I would take precautions and make the necessary actions to keep people safe.

      I refuse to label 1.8 billion fellow human beings as “terrorists” on the basis they’ve chosen to follow Islam. On this point I believe we disagree. I appreciate you sharing your view though as it has prompted me to dig deeper on this subject 🙂

      • While you are “Digging Deeper” on the subject of the 1.8 billion fellow human beings you speak of consider this: Statistically there are more than 180 million of them who support the idea of Jihad. 180 plus million is a small number when compared to the 1.8 billion, but 180 million is a significant number when compared say to a place like The United States where such a number represents half the population. Try to keep that perspective as you are digging deeper.

        No, it would be unfair to label 1.8 billion people as “Terrorists” but because of the teachings they follow from infancy I would say it would not be unfair to label the 1.8 billion as “Potential Terrorists.” (The operative word being “Potential.”)

      • I haven’t seen enough information to tell me that the number of jihadists is actually that high; which is the reason I’m still reading and going deeper.

      • I did not say the number of Jihadists is that high … I meant to say that is the number who have been determined to support the concept of Jihad.

        The humanitarian politics of the terror argument are no longer important to me but protecting myself is … Being safe is the important thing and I am not going to become a snake handler to prove to myself, to God and to the world that not all serpents bite.

        Let the vipers slither all they want and as freely as they want but when they get too close to my shit I am going to do something other than sit there and watch their hypnotic little dance …. I am going to run or to call police and get the hell outta there.

      • Individual protection is never a point I disagree with. Terrorism is a hard topic to discuss as there are literally 7.4 billion individual views of the subject.

      • The only view that counts is, “Understand where most of it comes from and who does most of it —- Avoid the near occasion of being in a situation — Be prepared to fight or flee in case of an attack —- Do not lay down in front of the assholes who are afraid to give terror a name.

        Opinions about “Who, what, where, why, when or how do not amount to a hill of beans when the knife blade is aimed at your own throat or the screaming animal(s) with the Ar15 are spraying the crowd with molten lead death.

      • Indeed, knife blades and AR15’s are clear indications of terror activities. I can clearly understand that my position is one from relative safety and I’m afforded the time to think about the who, what, where, why, when and how’s of the event.

        Observing a situation is at the center of individual protection and is done, for me, without regard to outward appearances. Suspicious activity, a knife, a gun; it can come from anyone.

  5. Look, we can bring up comparative history all we want but in the end it’s all about what is happening now and the reasons for that. If you are suggesting contemporary jihadists are suddenly pissed at Christians at this point in time because of all past Christian transgressions going back to the Crusades.. that’s a bit of a stretch. These Sharia male-centric nutcases have killed more of their own people in their violence allegedly against Christians than actual Christians themselves since 9/11. Also, I am totally unsure what Islamic jihad fundamentalism has a thing to do with white man displacing the American Indian.
    If you want to use history.. then think history in the context of man… the behaviors of human beings. All through the existence of man, man has conquered himself in the forever quest of simple existence. It’s inherent in our nature. To presume that some humans are more “enlightened” than others and are entitled to conquer other humans is just a matter of semantics. Rome was “enlightened” until the Barbarians relieved them of that position in the world. I refuse to accept the fact that simply because I am an American that I have to absorb a measure of blame for the general suffering in the world for whatever reason that exists simply because Americans might be some form of social or political arrogance in thinking that our way is the right way any more or less than some native tribesman in some remote area of Africa thinks his way is the right way. Although, it’s very likely someone somewhere will convince that tribesman, because that tribesman is not as “enlightened” as others in the world, that his beliefs in living in harmony with nature is wrong and that he should believe in a deity called Allah, be handed an AK-47, and told to kill his neighbor for believing otherwise… and that if he personally dies in the process he will get virgins or raisins or whatever that crap is in the afterlife.

    Personally, we would have done the American Indian a great service had they been assimilated into whatever white man culture was developing. Being put on reservations as some idea of white man feeling less guilty about displacing them has been itself a grand injustice and has only added to their suffering. But that’s a whole other issue.

    • Thanks for the well thought reply and I appreciate the time you invested. It appears I didn’t do a perfect job on the original point of my post. I was attempting to show that the double-standard one group has towards another that isn’t as “peaceful” or “enlightened” is hypocritical when measured against history. The Native American example was probably a poor choice to help support my point. At present, the struggle right now is Muslim vs. Christian, Western vs. Middle Eastern, etc., so many sides to use for examples. We have plenty of history to show humans being horrible to other humans going back thousands of years. How much longer is that going to continue if we can’t stop, listen, and ask questions without fearing we’ll be shot or conquered?

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