The Religion of Peace?

Yes, these butchers are Muslims operating under ISIS’ banner.  I know Muslims who would renounce such slaughter. Still, until I see a Million Muslim March coming out against the likes of ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Iranian Mullahs, and Wahhabism — I am going to wonder about the culture of the Muslim world.  The death toll is mounting everyday.

Murdered Christians in Sudan
Murdered Christians in Sudan

In Sudan, over a Million Christians and Animists have been killed since 1970.  In Syria, the civil war has a sectarian dimension, the Islamic militias have driven out 500K Christians since the conflict’s beginning.  Boko Haram explicitly targets Christian villagers.  Before ISIS stormed onto the scene, over 7000 Christians where targeted and killed by various terrorist groups in bombings and shootings since 9/11, not counting the 3000 who lost their lives that day.  Since ISIS has appeared things have gone from bad to worse – their recent murder of James Foley is just another demonstration of how little ISIS values life.

In East Timur over 200K Christians lost their lives at the hands of a Muslim government that targeted people on that island, in part, because of their religion.  The death toll could have run over 500K.

in the early days of the September crisis, estimates of Timorese “unaccounted for” ranged from 200,000 to as high as 600,000.

Dead Timorese Christians
Dead Timorese Christians

What we have is a religion that has been politicized by the cultures in which it has taken root. European Christianity saw similar excesses, and in the 17th century these culminated during the 30 Years War. Germany’s population was savaged, with over one third of the people killed. Today, Christianity does not engage in military conquest.  The West has divorced religion from politics.  There is a world of difference between modern Christianity and the convert-or-die mentality of the Wars of Reformation and Crusades.

In Saudi Arabia the mindset is stuck in the 9th century; and far too many Imams take their cue from these Wahhabists.  Polls appear to consistently demonstrate that overwhelming majorities of Muslim’s in the Middle and Far East have not yet accepted a pluralistic view when it comes to religion:

A majority of Muslims in several countries also support the death penalty for Muslims who convert away from Islam, including in Afghanistan (79 percent), Egypt (88 percent), Pakistan (75 percent), the Palestinian territories (62 percent), Jordan (83 percent) and Malaysia (58 percent).

Furthermore in these countries there is a majority that want Shariah law:

… [in] Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia — a majority of Muslims indicated they supported Shariah.

With Sharia comes a tax on Christians and Jews, and death or conversion decision for Pagans and Atheist.  40% of Muslim’s in England want Sharia Law.  This is is the world we are in. We share a planet where much of the Muslim world is stuck in a distant and violent sectarian past.  Our media chooses to ignore this as best as it can, but ISIS in their horrifying naivete are producing these snuff flicks as recruiting tools.  These vignettes highlight the barbarity of the methods used by those who are insisting that this religion remained coupled to a political framework.  The worldview of the terrorists is totally alien. In their minds, there is no place for us. Ignoring the problem will not solve it.

ISIS Crucifies Christians
ISIS Crucifying Christians

What is fascinating is that while a majority of Muslims in the Middle East support the establishment of Sharia – they are afraid of the groups that are seeking to bring it about by force:

Notably, in Iraq, 45 percent of respondents said they worried mostly about Muslim extremists groups, while only three percent said they worried mostly about Christian extremists groups.

What is of further interest is that terrorist groups have broad support, despite the worries. From Pew Research and ICM:

55% of Jordanians have a positive view of Hezbollah
30% of Egyptians have a positive view of Hezbollah
45% of Nigerian Muslims have a positive view of Hezbollah
43% of Indonesians have a positive view of Hezbollah
19% of Pakistanis have a positive view of Hezbollah

Most troubling is that these percentages indicate that 100’s of millions of Muslims support terrorist groups. The support for explicit terrorist activities was polled by World Public Opinion and others:

61% of Egyptians approve of attacks on Americans
32% of Indonesians approve of attacks on Americans
20% of British Muslims sympathize with 7/7 bombers
41% of Pakistanis approve of attacks on Americans
38% of Moroccans approve of attacks on Americans
31% of Turks support suicide attacks against Westerners in Iraq
83% of Palestinians approve of attacks on Americans
62% of Jordanians approve of attacks on Americans
42% of Turks approve of attacks on Americans

The West’s pluralism appears to have no appeal to these cultures in the Muslim world.  Such militant, violent sectarian thinking has been abandoned elsewhere. Calling Islam a religion of peace under current circumstances ignores far too many atrocities and the broad tacit support from within these communities.  Until this segment of the world develops a true respect for its neighbors, and is revolted by the brutality and culture of death, as espoused by militant Islam, we shall not see peace.