The Friday the 13th attacks in Paris got people to think about it once again.
The Islamic State took responsibility for the attacks in Paris with a message, in which over 100 French civilians were killed in coordinated attacks. They were labelled the worst attacks there since World War II, and involved innocent people at restaurants, a sports stadium and a concert hall.
French President Francois Hollande called the attacks “an act of war.”
One could surmise the Islamic State was retaliating for the coalition led deaths of Muslims in Syria and Iraq, since that is what they preach. Some of the gunmen were reported as mentioning Syria as the attacks were carried out. Perhaps they think of the Syrian civilian deaths in the same manner as others consider the civilian deaths in Paris.
But civilian life is not counted as much by the Islamic State. Some of the victims in the Paris attacks were Muslims themselves.
But it is also important to note the problems in Syria were not caused by France, or America. It had to do Assad and gave rise to terrorism. It has since become more complex, but it cannot all be blamed on the situation in Iraq, either.
The Middle East has been unstable for a long time and Syrians had problems like unemployment, dictatorship, corruption and state violence. There would be instability in Syria whether America invaded Iraq or not.
The Islamic State exploited this instability, and claims to be centered in Syria. The situation there would be complex with or without the involvement of America, England or France,. It would be complex, whether you consider it political,religious or none of the above.
It is a lot to think about with no easy answers, and people wonder just where it all started.
As bad as terrorism has been, though, one point that could be made is this. Islamic extremism is not new.
It did not begin with September 11, or with what happened right before that.
What people label “terrorists” have been around for centuries. It gets one to think in the back of their heads where all this started. There seems to be no foreseeable end as long as there is Islam.
Well, that is what a blog is for.
If you know where the conflict began it help one to think about adjustments to what they are doing.
From an American standpoint the Paris attacks brought back memories of September 11, and how they got the attention of people.
So, what does the American government think of the Paris attacks?
The opinion here is that those who are not on the side of the Islamic State cannot just sit back and allow Islamic extremists the liberty to murder innocent civilians at will and do nothing. In fact, the attacks in Paris have led President Obama to review whether escalation is necessary in Syria.
Many American states have decided not to accept Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks, which shows how the Islamic State harms Muslims, also,
The inhumane treatment of the Islamic State to those who are not Muslims also cannot be tolerated. To say it is okay to rape underage women because they are not Muslim seems to go against what the Prophet Muhammad preached. It is interesting to note they labelled those in Paris as “adulterers” after the attacks.
Where Did Christian/Islamic Relations Go Wrong?
So, where did this conflict begin? The one that has no reasonable end? The seemingly endless retribution of Islamic and non-Islamic conflict that goes back and forth, and mostly involves innocent people?
The one some call the “Clash of Civilizations”?
There are a few thoughts on that.
While some think that fundamental Islam tries to make life difficult for non-Muslims, it is not that simple.
There is something more, in the underlying mechanisms of Islam in some minds.
This post makes a point about this concept.
Some wrongly assume that Islam preaches murdering anyone who is not Muslim. However, this is difficult to substantiate. In fact, there has been no worldwide call in Islam to kill non-Muslims since the early Caliphate days after Muhammad’s death in the 600’s. Those calls of “kill them wherever you find them” are referring to people in that time.
That is important to recognize.
And where that message came from is also important. One should have valid reasons for attacking civilians.
The thinking of the Islamic State seems to fall apart here, and many Muslims themselves disagree with what they do.
For example, a fatwa (An opinion about Islamic law) is not legitimate unless it goes through the proper protocol. A fatwa from a terrorist state is not legitimate.
Islam has a legal process, also, so when they claim to kill non-Muslims it is not legitimate. Islamic scholars review those kinds of things every generation.
Muhammad himself did not consider the faith of a non-Muslim to be a barrier in relations with them. Why should the Islamic State?
And if the reasons for attacks, like the one in Paris, are secular and for retribution then the Islamic State is not just about Islam. The 7% of Muslims who approved of the September 11 attacks said so because of secular reasons. So why it is considered a war against Islam?
And, even if it is about Islam, the extremists are not following their own Scripture.
One should recognize this. When the Qur’an speaks of violence against “infidels” it is referring to specific group of people over 1,400 years ago. That is, the polytheists on the Arabian peninsula during the time of Muhammad. It is not speaking of people now. Some of the verses, like “kill them wherever you find them” were not in the Qur’an, according to some scholars. They were added later.
Muslim extremists mistranslate their own text.
Islam is not about attacking civilians.
This post asserts that the beginnings of these conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims can be traced to the time after Muhammad’s death.
Statistics vary because they were different times in the Middle Ages. But some say the Muslim aggression at this time expanded to about two thirds of Christian lands. The terror level was not the same, but the goal was to take over lands are rule them by Islam.
However, the goal then was to expand Islam in Christian and pagan lands. People who were not Muslims were not treated the same. (Christians do not take the position of murdering people because they are not Christian).
And, for the record, the Crusades were largely a response to this Muslim aggression, especially from the Seljun Turks. The Roman Catholic Church went too far, and the acts have been condemned by Popes as not representing the Church.
(Isn’t it interesting how, in the European migrant crisis, hundreds of thousands of Muslims fled their land to go to “Crusader lands” for citizenship? France itself accepted over 44,000 of them.)
This is the fundamental beginning of strife. The beginning of the conflict is the notion of Muslims that they should inherently rule over non-Muslims, and even charge them a tax. Christianity does not have similar provision. Conversely, Christians are directed to spread the Gospel, and not by violent means.
And what about Muhammad’s Covenant With Christians? The Islamic State’s statement of responsibility for the Paris attack spoke of the “Crusader campaign.” The Islamic State spoke of attacking at the “crusader match” between France and Germany in soccer. However, in Muhammad’s Covenant he called Christians “my citizens” and “my allies”, and stated Muslims should defend Christians.
He even stated no compulsion is on Christians to accept Islam. They seem to disobey their own Prophet.
And the U.S. led coalition did not attack Syria unprovokingly. It came from the threats and actions of a terrorist state. In fact, many Americans think it has not gone far enough. America is not there to occupy a nation or resolve the political differences. It is there to defend innocent civilians, as was demonstrated in Paris.
The problem with all of this is that as long as there is Islam there will be people that don’t follow it as it was meant to be followed, such as the Islamic State. It goes back to an interpretation by some that non-Muslims are inferior. This is not so say, though, that the whole religion of Islam should be eliminated.
What it is saying is that the underlying problem lies in a basic concept (wrongly thinking Muslims should kill non-Muslims) and an idea that Muslims should rule over non-Muslims. Christianity, for example, has no provisions like those.
Or, perhaps if they followed what the Prophet Muhammad teached, things would be different.
Perhaps the attacks in Paris can be considered retribution for killing “jihad John” in Syria. The attacks happened the day that was publicly announced.
The Islamic State also could be battling back because people think they are on the decline. Between Jihadi John’s death and losing Sinjar, they might not have seemed as formidable at the time.
Religion is not about conflict.