21 November, 2005

Islam and Terrorism

A recent interview with a French documentarian that went undercover with suicide bombers and their families made some sweeping remarks on Islam. The whole thing stinks of "I was there and let me tell you how it is.."-ness, something anthropologists call something I can't remember now (along the lines of "nativism," though this is a move to empower post-colonial indigenous cultures). It means that just because you went somewhere or even originated in that somewhere does not necessarily mean you have authority or even a better grasp over its meaning than the next person (though this is generally the case with the superficial or more "immediate" aspects of a culture with regards to someone who grew up or lived in that culture). The interview can be found here. My reply follows:

-No sex in islam? Actually --I know this may come as a surprise-- but guess what, "homosexuality" (or what we westerners would include under this catch-all phrase) is rampant in Muslim societies. Pederasty also shows up, as it does in the West. Generally, however, sexual tension is channeled through relationships between younger teenage boys and older 20-something men (guess who's on the receiving end). This form of homosexual exchange, which might be termed a sort of right of passage in Muslim societies, is so widespread that it is not even seen as homosexuality. Don't believe me? You can either google the terms "homosexuality islam" or go here for me: http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/Printable.asp?ID=5704. Believe me, Muslim boys find avenues for their carnal needs.

-Most religions, esp. monotheistic ones, are characterized by a sense of preponderence and a strong degree of conviction that in the end they will belong to the group of chosen ones. Therefore, it is not uniquely Muslim to believe that, in the end, your religion will champion over all others.

-A considerable source of financial support in the rebuilding of devastated areas in Pakistan and SE Asia during the two most recent and most disastrous global catastrophies is coming from Muslim charities. The same can be said for many other disasters in the 20th century, including many unrelated to islam, that are aided by money from charitable islamic organizations. One exemplary group, which brings together the resources of Red Cross and Red Crescent groups around the world, is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (go here for more on examples of their work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Crescent_Societies).

-Just like in America and elsewhere in the world, violent young men tend to fuel the ranks of gangs and even suicide bombers largely because of one general reason: they have too much time on their hands and nothing to do (whether because they choose to --it's cool to shun school-- or because they simply are not working or engaged in some activity we might call "productive" and, most importantly, time consuming), something which, when coupled with a violent disposition (whatever the reason for their violent character), oftentimes finds channels for "release" through, well, violence. Gangs and violent youths in the US and abroad may not have a good reason to blow themselves up in an attempt to take as many victims with them as possible, but it doesn't mean that they are exempt from such a possibility simply because they get laid regularly.

-The UN=Terrorism International? A bit simplistic?

-Quit making analogies to Fascism/Nazi ideology. It makes you sound just as ignorant as the anti-neo-liberal likes of Hugo Chavez (and others), who just love to portray Bush and his administration as a present-day Hitler. Need convincing? Here's what Daily Show host John Stewart had to say about dropping Hitler references liberally:

“To sum up, please stop calling people Hitler when you disagree with them. It demeans you, it demeans your opponent, and to be honest, it demeans Hitler. That guy worked too many years too hard to be that evil to have any Tom, Dick, or Harry say, ‘hey, you're being Hitler.’ No. You know who was Hitler? Hitler!!”

I have a clip of the episode where he discusses the topic, email me if you'd like a copy.

-Terrorism may yet prove to be more violent. That's why Iraq, the War on Terrorism and Islam are so controversial in today's world. In essence, our world's future may depend on the way we approach/react to these subjects. That's why people have such contrasting and marked views on these themes (whether you're conservative, liberal, libertarian, or just plain cooky).

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