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Posted by wmmbb in Modern History, Terrorism Issues.

The US and its’ allies are engaged in operations in Muslim countries. One person’s counter-terrorism is another’s terrorism.

In these cases of murdering others, the perpetrators have to dehumanize those whom you would kill while making themselves as killers somehow special. So from this perspective, given that the war of terrorism is waged against Islam adversaries, it is not surprising that extreme Anti-Islam course material has surfaced.

Al Jazeera’s Inside Story reviewed the most recent example of the two instances of such course material coming to public attention. The suggestion is made that the material can be linked back to the Strategic Engagement Group, who as well train police officers.The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, in response to the earlier exposure of similar material said,“It was totally objectionable, against our values and it wasn’t academically sound”.

The Inside Story:

Barbara Hans and Julia Jüttner at Speigel report on an “experiment” conducted on the streets of Bonn:

Last Saturday, at around 3 p.m., the enemies stood face to face. They were separated by just a few meters, one police vehicle and hundreds of officers. The facedown was the result of a calculated, staged provocation.

“Now, we are going to show the caricatures,” said a member of the right-wing populist Pro-NRW group.
It was an announcement that resembled a scientific experiment: How an action is followed by a reaction. The anti-Islamists from Pro-NRW made sure that they got what they wanted. One member climbed onto another’s shoulders, police say, to ensure that the gathered Salafists would get a good look at the Muhammad caricature drawn by Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Violence ensued. Rocks and bottles were hurled by the Salafists, and one even drew a knife and stabbed two officers. In the end, 29 police were injured.

“Deport them! Deport them!” yelled the Pro-NRW people.

“Death to the infidels!” screamed the Salafists.

The experiment was a success and an escalation of violence was the result. And that is exactly how the right-wing mini-party Pro-NRW wants it. The Saturday march was one of a series of 25 such events, at which the group displayed anti-Islam caricatures in front of Muslim facilities.

The article then attempts to delve into the extremist mind. They write:

Extremism needs to play the role of victim, just as it needs to demonstrate its power. When large numbers of Salafists come together to pray on the streets, it can also be a demonstration of power, similiar to those conducted by “Black Bloc” radicals at (anti-globalization or anti-capitalism) protests, says Miliopoulos. “Individuals become part of a large mass,” he says.

Salafists and Islamophobes are united by a yearning for purity, a desire to establish homogeneous societies — united either by religious beliefs or ideological convictions. “Each group is convinced that it represents the only correct worldview and seeks to exclude those who don’t share it,” Backes, from the Hannah Arendt Institute, says.

Pro-NRW shares its Islamophobic views with many other right-wing extremist groups. “Since Sept. 11, 2001, it has become clear that anti-Semitism has been on the wane and Islamophobia has taken its place,” says Backes.

Islamophobia is an ideological phenomenon that has taken place across Europe — in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain and elsewhere — and has become the core belief uniting right-wing groups.

As previously the economics of austerity are almost guaranteed to generate the politics of extremism and scapegoating.Fortunately, drone missile terrorism, makes any understanding of Muslim societies unnecessary, except for the relatively small group of people involved. Meanwhile the blundering failure and cruelty in Afghanistan, with one instance after another, and more multiple murder, cannot in any way be attributed to ignorance of the invaders.

Mike Gravel argues the US has recalibrated its moral compass in a detrimental way to the well being of the people of that country:

If you have read this far, and I don’t expect agreement with what I have said above or in the comments below, you will probably be interested in the politics of religion and therefore might be interested in Michael Lerner’s interview with Peter Beinart.



1. ecks why - May 14, 2012

Informed rational freedom loving people have all the reasons in the world to fear islam. The twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. Even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.

Mohamhead was a 7th century murdering warlord who rose to power on a river of blood surrounded by thugs and gangsters using intimidation, violence, deception and trickery to expand their criminal empire while mercilessly suppressing and killing their opponents and enriching themselves on stolen booty.

The evil koran is a collection of sayings and speeches by this diabolical madman claiming divine guidance from some mythical sky-god which has inspired generations of crazed fanatics to abhorrent behavior resulting in historys worst ever crimes against humanity starting 1400 years ago and still continuing even today.

Islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.

and some snappy graphics, great for emailing…

wmmbb - May 14, 2012

Imagine a “Christian”, a person encultured in an European, Christian worldview and set of assumptions, talking about a “sky god”!

Religions have a tendency towards totalitarianism and to cult-like behavior. With regard to Christianity, I immediately think of the Inquisition and the prosecution of heretics during the period of the Reformation. As well I am conscious of the desecration of Saxon and other indigenous religious beliefs and languages. Religion is related to political power, whether the political leader was Constantine, Charlemagne, Henry VII or Charles I.

Islam is one of the great religions of the world. It has a large number of adherents, from nominal adherents, that is to say people culturally embedded in Islam to practitioners ranging from Salafists to Sufis. I met people who are Muslims all the time. I have no desire to offend them. We should respect other people’s right to practice their religious beliefs, and that probably means that we should know something about Islam.

Why freedom of religion has dropped off the radar of my commenter here, I can only speculate, and reflect on the comment quoted above that to the effect that Islamaphobia has replaced anti-Semitism – meaning hatred directed at Jews. We know something of the European history and how that works. Scapegoating, with its biblical reference, has a longer history.

We should be conscious of the violent implications of thought. I have a strong conviction that such behavior is an anathema to the accepted norms of Australian society. Yet I am aware that given the feebleness and lack of moral conviction of some political leaders, swayed apparently so easily by narrative set up by mass media and the results from focus groups, nothing surprises. I cannot help but reflect on the disgraceful treatment of those refugees who have fled war and persecution. As a democratic citizen, I am to be held responsible for their expediency at the expense of others suffering. As Mike Gravel says there is no government in the world in which the citizens have control. I have to be careful not to follow a similar path to those I am criticizing. Let us all aspire for redemption from our mistakes and reconciliation with truth.

So lets talk about Islam. As you might have noticed, with regard to revelatory religious figures, such as the Buddha, Jesus Christ or Mohammed, I try to get a sense of the formative historical context.. For example, in Nepal, I understand that Buddhism is seen as part of the same religious tradition as Hinduism. So why is not Judaism and Christianity seen similarly? I suspect that has to do with the critical role of Paul, the fact that it became the State religion of the Roman Empire, and the role played by in particular Augustine of Hippo, especially for the Medieval world, in keying it into Greco-Roman Civilization. Of course, North Africa and the Levant was ceded to Islam.

Mohammed was a contemporary of Pope Gregory the Great. When he died in 632AD the reach of Islam was confined to the Arabian desert and its two cities of Mecca and Medina.Yet within four or five lifetimes, a hundred years, the religion extended westward to the Pyrenees and eastward to India. The former Christian religious centres of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem has fallen. The foremost centres of Hellenic world once Christian and Greek speaking had become Moslem and Arab speaking. The empire of Constantinople was placed under great pressure, and would fall in 1453, with repercussions for Western Europe, first felt in Italy.

Mohammed, we are told, was born about 570AD in Mecca, a member of Quraysh tribe, who earned his living trading with Syria. There he came in contact with Judaism and Christianity. He received the call to be the Prophet at the age of forty. He did not claim to be God, but a human person who spoke messages of divine origin. In 622, things were not working out in Mecca, it was not longer safe to stay, so he fled to Medina where he had converted a number of Jews to the Faith – which I interpolate to mean, people with similar background to himself who had traded with the Levant and given up polytheistic beliefs. Monotheism is the distinctive heritage of Judaism, and it represents (I can’t claim understanding) a profound reorientation of religious belief.

The historian R H C Davis, A History of Medieval Europe, my source, writes:

The flight was the decisive moment in his career, and it is the event from which Moslems reckon the date of the year, in the same way as Christians reckon from the birth of Christ. It is called the Hejira, which does not mean ‘flight’ or ‘migration’ so much as ‘the breaking of old ties’; for once at Medina, Mohammed decided to break the ties of kindred [tribal loyalties?] and fight to impose his religion on his own people by force

So this interpretation would appear to be broadly consistent with my commenter. There is a discussion about the suras ( texts) in the Quoran and how they can be dated, importantly before and after the Hejira, and how they can be inconsistent. No mention is made of the Haddiths, the saying of the Prophet, particularly one about the greatest jihad as the one within. Like the Buddha and Jesus Christ, Mohammed seems to undergone a extended period of mediation and torment, out of which the principle message is not violence but compassion.

Why then was Islam so successful, so quickly. As the commenter says it was a conquest of arms, but it is surprising given that Moslem armies were so weak in comparison to the established forces. Historical explanation requires a depth of understanding. The subject people of Egypt and the Levant had no deep affiliation with the Hellenic Empire and their heretical religious were aligned with Islam. The diaspora in 70AD did not fix the problem. So the Inquisition, horrible as it was, given this history makes sense. Historian see armies on the march, but they tend to ignore the potency of the message of nonviolence, which has been variously true of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, especially during the period of their explanation rather than in their consolidation as State ideologies.

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