Tag Archives: ISIL

Alan Henning and Violence In The Name of God

IMG_2092.PNG

Alan Henning was moved to try and make a difference. He gave up Christmas with his family that he might take supplies to help people suffering in Syria. Yesterday it was reported that ISIS carried out their threat to execute him.

On Eid Mubarak they sacrificed a man that had dedicated himself to humanitarianism. He is not the first, nor it seems will he be the last. Militarily this is a tactic to reduce aid to besieged people. ISIS make great play that they can provide for people in their terroritry. How much easier to make cities fall to them, because aid agencies dare not operate?

That we are being taunted, manipulated and terrorised by ISIS is unmistakable. Their desire to have the international community turn on them to rally people to their cause is not the only thing. They want Muslims and non Muslims to turn on each other. The reason for a caliphate to be made stronger by us turning on the wrong people.

I will not let such evil people treat me like a puppet on a string. Yet when discussing such matters on twitter it was clear people wanted to say Islam was bad. Unlike Christianity. The Koran promoted violence against infidels. The bible does not.

Well …

We then have such articles like the review of Karen Armstrong’s new book “Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong, book review: Neo-cons, prepare to get angry

The review in The Telegraph had this quote I mentioned in a tweet, which missed what Jesus is supposed to have said:

Related article: The Truth About Religion and Extremism

The problem is the reader taking from “their Book” the permission to do violence, slavery, and rape. While these verses remain, evil people will use them as stated, out of context or not in relation to other commandments and commentary, to carry out religious zealotry.

The Spanish Inquisition was religious. The belief that they were saving souls by consuming the flesh with fire, or purifying via torture was not a cover for psychopaths and sadists. They believed it. For the sufferings on earth were nothing compared to the eternal torment of everlasting hellfire. (I have not read Aaronovitch’s review but suspect he makes a similar point from his tweet).

Just as Karen Armstrong makes light of the religious aspect then, she and others are doing so with ISIS now. Some will be doing this to prevent the hatred and persecution they fear Muslims would suffer in the UK. Others that religion is always peaceful, and violence when committed has nothing to do with it. That it is a smokescreen for other motives.

A nuanced position recognises that the chicken or the egg debate to the scripture/violence link misses that both feed into each other in their own ways. Breaking the cycle matters more than blame games, apologetics, and false statements as I debunked above.

ISIS really do believe they are fulfilling a religious edict to create a caliphate and that their means are sanctioned by defensive Jihad. A counter narrative is useful, but do not for one second think they are insincere about this. They are in deadly earnest.

What helps is seeing the bigger picture. Religious extremism is on the rise. Together we have to tackle it. Let us start by being accurate about the problem.

Do not give in to terror. In memory of Alan Henning remember that compassion can also move humanity.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

2 Comments

Filed under British Politics, British Society, Religion, World

ISIS and Fighting Clerical Fascism

The need to fight fascism and prevent genocide are as close to self evident truths as humanity might wish to invent. When both present themselves in the form of ISIS the question is how, rather than why, they must be destroyed.

Yet those siren voices are calling: the west must not get involved. Iraq and Afghanistan are painted as strategic failures. We need to point out not intervening in Syria gave the space and time for ISIS to emerge.

That non intervention made it too easy for Islamists to paint a narrative: the west were not getting involved because spilt Muslim blood means nothing compared to the flow of oil. Assad was slaughtering his people, even using Chemical weapons and air strikes on the civilian population.

You can imagine the videos, too disturbing for mainstream media, used to recruit people to fight back. The world community was found wanting. As too often it is when massacres and appalling suffering happen.

That was the draw – the reality is crucifying, beheading, and sexual slavery. Still, you get your rent paid, canned goods and free health care. Welcome to the theological fascist military outfit that is ISIS.

A military power that controls territory about the size of England, spread over two countries. Controlling sufficient oil supplies it can create an effective internal market to keep the finance coming. Let alone hard currency from oil smuggled out. Money on the side kidnapping.

Mehdi Hasan said we should not call them a military power – they don’t have a navy among other things (nothing gets past Mehdi). But “bunch of thugs” as he prefers really does not explain them. This is a death cult of well led fascist fanatics.

They have routed larger armies. Such is the terror and effective command structure brought in by previous military Baathists that were kicked out with the fall of Saddam. Deny people a stake in the new order, they have no allegiance.

The death squads roaming Iraq, and the sectarian violence presented the opportunity for ISIS to launch their attack on a disintegrating state. Coming as liberators, promising Islam as in the golden age. Dealing out justice to the foes of the faith, by The Book.

The secular Muslim heritage, the mysticism of Sufis, a spiritual Caliphate – they are forgotten on this rampage. Universal human rights are absent. This is total war as they enlarge their territory. Imposing clerical fascism. The Art of War with Jihad coupled with modern tactics. Announcing they were now a geographical Caliphate was a message.

A message for political Islamists that envisage a unified Islamic empire that can defend and promote one theological Islam to the world: we have done it join us. Even now, some ask if the territory can be kept intact with the defeat of ISIS.

Those siren voices again. To use the murder, pillaging and atrocities of ISIS for the realisation of an Islamic caliphate that might undo the old colonial powers. As if ISIS were an eraser for the lines that western imperialists drew on the map as they carved up territory.

So of course you will have the likes of Anjem Choudary belittling the carnage, and Dilly Hussain saying Yazidi were fleeing tax dodgers, and Mo Ansar saying this could give birth to a good Islamic state. Islamists hope that people will rally up against their incompetent and dictatorial rulers for an Arab Winter to freeze the whole of the Middle East and South Asia into a theological ice block of uniformity. Even some Islamists that are against ISIS hope a thaw sees a different set of theocrats in charge one day.

Political Islam has laid the ground work for a caliphate to be seen as a requirement for Muslims. The misrule by secular despots and incompetent clerics has made many buy into this vision.

How many have to die for theological hedgemony? As many as it takes. So the question then becomes why antagonise the US and UK by beheading their citizens?

The risk is ISIS want a final confrontation. A battle to end all battles. Set up the theological state, Allah is meant to be the Ace in the Hole. They believe Muslims will flock to their banner to finally rid the infidel once and for all. At last the unity of Muslim people, and the final victory of ISIS. The Caliphate remains.

We can and must denounce fascism in all it’s gory forms. Theological fascism should be no exception. Not only denouncing ISIS but the caliphate they wish to create. Too many people, Muslim and non Muslim, have died because of this nightmare.

People have to decide their own governments and way of living. That cannot be done while living under the shadow of a sword. Fascism always rises when a vacuum is created. You know it when you see it; totalitarianism, military conquest and complete obedience to the state. If the alternative is anarchy or a status quo that crushes them, people will flock to the banner.

Make no mistake. People like Russell Brand will say terrorist attacks increase if we drop bombs on Muslims, and we will keep having the same problem unless we leave well alone. Others will claim this is about war profits for the US military industrial complex. Those siren voices will say this is not our fight, we will make the situation worse. They will even try to tell you this is not about religion – no matter how many times ISIS say it is.

If all we do is drop bombs we will not defeat ISIS. The ideology of Islamism has to be shown for what it is. It needs to be challenged – a counter theological narrative so Secular Muslim heritage can reassert itself. Where we have failed is in challenging political Islam throughout the world. By our governments not standing up for the oppressed people in allied Muslim majority nations, we have lost the moral high ground.

Too often we went with what was expedient. Siding with bloody dictators. John Kerry is doing the same again with Egypt. We wonder why the Islamist narrative appeals to people when we ourselves shake the bloodied hands of mass murderers, while calling them a friend.

This is not going to be easy. There is no quick fix, and this is not the starting point we would wish. Muslims and non Muslims have to work together to defeat political Islamists. As a coalition is built to deal with ISIS, we need one that tackles theocrats, mad mullahs, and extremism.

If you care about human rights, sexual equality, democracy, pluralism, the separation of religion and state – it is time to saddle up for the battle of ideas. Do not let clerical fascists claim religion as a cover for their insidious actions in the public space.

Religious freedom must not be a gateway for a bunch of thugs to abuse.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

1 Comment

Filed under Religion, secular, World