Thinking Anglicans

Islam and violence

An item from the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

0832 What is it that motivates a suicide bomber? Jane Little explores what Islam has to say about violence.

Listen here with Real Audio 4.5 minutes

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Simon SarmientorobinstevenJ. C. Fisher Recent comment authors
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Robin
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Robin

Where does politics begin and religion end? Ideology is often used to subvert the principles of religion that are often complex and doctrinaire. For example, the war on terror and the use of the term “evil.” This is much the same as politics perverting pure science for its own often military means. Governments appropriate the use of technology to manipulate the scientific understanding of the world for violent means. Is religion usurped by political ideologies and is the religion of suicide bombers a front for political extremism? Does the psychology of an individual suicide bomber not mix political and religious… Read more »

steven
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steven

The nature of fundamentalism is terrifying? Whose fundamentalism are you talking about, Christian conservative fundamentalism, Christian liberal fundamentalism, Hindu fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, . . . ? Different “fundamentalisms” lead to different results. All may be terrifying to the opposition, as the term implies a somewhat singleminded and uncompromising devotion to a particular ideological and/or religious position. But, not all lead to suicide bombers. As far as I know, only Muslims are suicide bombers. Something about the Quran’s injunctions to jihad and the promise of 70 virgins for martyrs I suppose. Anyhow, please be more specific. As it is, you are… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
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“As far as I know, only Muslims are suicide bombers”

Umm. Kamikaze in WW2? Tamil Tigers?

steven
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steven

Dear Simon:

Good point. Now, we need to figure out what all 3 have in common.

Cordially,
Steven

J. C. Fisher
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And are we to a distinguish greater morality, merely by the willingness to leave the bomb behind and flee?

Persons of virtually EVERY religious affiliation, including Christians, have knowingly (and intentionally) bombed civilians (Note: I’m not even counting those representing their nation’s military, while dropping/shooting bombs).

. . . and in virtually every case, it is the reaction of their co-religionists, to say “they (the terrorists) do not represent true ______.”

Human sin: it’s universal. 🙁

steven
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steven

Dear J.C.- You raise an interesting point, but go beyond the particular bounds of the question (I, at least) had in mind. That is–the relationship between particular types of fundamentalism and suicide bombers. As the term fundamentalism indicates a relatively rigid adherence to certain “fundamental” tenets, the question is–what tenets would make one more likely to commit suicide in the act of killing “innocent” civilians. Many ideologies may lead to acts of war. Civilians inevitably get killed in a war. However, few ideologies are used to openly justify the slaughter of civilian as opposed to military targets. Likewise, few encourage… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
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Isn’t the whole point here that to call the suicide bombers “Muslim” is questioned by the vast majority of Muslims. Just as nobody called the IRA bombers “Christians”?

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Yes, Simon, that is the point: who gets to define the religiousity of terrorists? The terrorists? Those who claim the same (general) affiliation as the terrorists, but who reject terrorism? Or those outside the affiliation? A North American example: the terrorist organization known as the “Ku Klux Klan” *emphatically considers itself Christian* (It’s in their press statements. What non-Klan call “cross-burning”, the Klan calls “Lighting the Cross”). But because the KKK is set within an over-all culture of Christianity, virtually *no one* outside the Klan thinks of them as a Christian terrorist group. Al Qaida is, at most, a couple… Read more »

steven
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steven

Ooops. Don’t say I can’t take a hint. It’s pretty obvious that I have trespassed some of liberalism’s fundamental tenets. Say no more, I withdraw the question. As my dear old Dad used to say, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

Cordially,
Steven

robin
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robin

I note the problem with the term fundamentalism. It has a number of interpretations. There is an interesting article in the Spectator this week on the aggressive nature of Islam titled ” The myth of moderate Islam” written by the Director for the Study of Islam and Christianity. He advocates that Muslims and Christians have to accept a dark past that has a tradition linking religion and war. Do the suicide bombers see themselves as unknown soldiers or heros?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

That article is already under discussion here, see
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001278.html