Originally Posted by willx
@Urzu 7 --
I apologize beforehand, but I'm finally getting a bit worked up about this! I do hope you know what you're saying are gross generalizations right? Look back, why is Afghanistan so F'd up? Why was the Taliban in power in the first place? Watch the movie, Charlie Wilson's War? Read about Cold War-style proxy wars? Why was there a war in Iraq? Who put Saddam into power? Mubarak? Gaddafi? How many of these guys were "secular" tyrants? Look even further back? Social injustices? Resource wars? People looking the other way due to oil?
I'm going to also refer back to what I wrote previously: Who do you think of as your enemies? How would you deal with them? What does that say about you (and us) ?
Regardless of religion, people who are poor, impoverished and feel oppressed (both rightly and wrongly) will be brainwashed to fight those whom they believe to be their enemies. Are they right? Are we their enemies? The answer to these questions are murky and cannot and should not be reduced to "Religion -> Islam"
EDIT: Sumeragi beat me to it, but put it succinctly, you cannot say "Militant Islam" is a problem without assessing the historical events that caused it. Which is what I was alluding to above.
I wrote this in another thread:
I'm reminded of something I already know, but on so many issues that are up for debate, there is just so much complexity and depth to them, and the root of issues are so often not focused and concise, but rather large in number and spread out.
I've been typing out a lot for responses tonight. Sometimes I'd be writing a post and then have another post I'd want to write in queue. I would have so much to say and I'm jumping around screens where I'm creating a post and jumping between some topics, so I'm trying to engage in multiple conversations with multiple people.
So what am I getting at? Well, what you put in your post, well, it is good, it is drawing perspectives and talking about how what I was discussing has much complexity and depth to it. The thing is, I do understand this and have thought about such things kind of a lot in the past (how the violence in the middle east and from the Muslim world isn't just due to things found in Islam alone, or how many Muslims don't hate America just because most Americans are nonbelievers to them). I didn't touch upon things you brought into perspective in your post, but I do know, generally, of things you've mentioned and understand that is all integrated into what I was discussing.
Nonetheless, the religion of Islam plays into a lot of problems with the Muslim world today. There is religion and there is organized religion. The biggest problem with the Muslim world and Islam is how the organized religion of Islam is operating. You've got governments which converge a form of government with Islam. You've got many people who lack a good education. You've got a lot of people who are being controlled by authority figures. You have governments who will jail people for the littlest thing if it is negative towards Islam. Governments which don't allow for freedom of religion. They won't let people study or learn about other religions. You have Muslim clerics who steer the views and opinions and beliefs of the masses. These clerics will often give misinformation or half-truths in their sermons, and they will often purposely rile up followers with anti-western sentiments. You have officials of authority (religious and government officials) who are controlling the masses in some of these countries. And then there is the extremism and militant Muslims. Poverty, oppression, poor levels of education, the inability to get a lot of facts and more unbiased information about other parts of the world and other peoples of the world, popular beliefs in their cultures...so many things that can, together, bring people down a path leading to joining an extremist faction or having support for them. And the extremists and terrorists themselves, being devout Muslims, can easily be swayed by others to fight in the name of their religion. The people who recruit extremists manipulate them by citing things in the Qu'ran. They are twisting things to persuade them to take the path of an extremist.
Although they twist things and manipulate others, there are things in the Qu'ran which tell Muslims it is right and acceptable to fight in the name of Islam and to fight nonbelievers. The religion of Islam itself does indeed have some bad things about it and people are using some of them as a basis to justify violence and killing. I mean, look at the verses I put into quotes in that one post I made and look at some of the verses in the link I gave in that post. And many Muslims are very devout and they believe every bit of the Qu'ran is the holy word of Allah, so many Muslims believe all those verses about fighting in the name of Allah and fighting nonbelievers to be totally true. It leads to a lot of Muslims believing that violence and killing are acceptable and justifiable for reasons which really aren't. This is what leads to, say, people making statements like "Behead all those who insult the prophet", or lead people in Europe to threaten or, worse yet, kill someone for making a political cartoon with Mohammed in it (these things happened last decade, you probably read or heard about them).