My comments, and abstracts from the article are followed by Armstrong's article below.
The plight of minorities - be it racial, religious, sub-religious, secular, ethnic, linguistic or liberal is fairly similar throughout the history of the mankind. The following article is 4600 words long, but worth the read, it helps us understand the society and factors that shape the majority-minority relationships.
Religious masters have worked very hard to infuse humility into humanity as a bridge to building cohesive societies, most people got that right, and some did not. The struggle is between the majority and minority, it is not all of the majority, but the hard core tiny group of people within a given majority that drives the society, and ironically they tend to be insecure and frightened beings. They are afraid, that these ...... 'bunch of other people' will change their life styles, and their in-built animalistic defense mechanism kicks in and starts preempting attacks on them, to show them their place, and deny them their rights, i.e., be obedient to them.
The hardcore individuals within the Tea party, ISIS, Talibans, RSS, Islamists, Zionists, Hindutva and others behave the same when it comes to 'bunch of others'. They resort to imagining and annihilating the other to "feel" secure. The world is not big enough for them, they want to have it all, and don't want the "inferior" other to have their own space, food and the loved ones. I called it animalistic behavior because God has endowed animals with paws, fangs, horns and power to fight and resolve their conflicts, where as humans are suppose to resolve their issues through dialogue. As a society, we have to collectively bring every one to talk and assure security to the insecure, so we all can live without the fear of the other.
If you are a student of building cohesive societies, where we can live without the fear of the other, no matter who we are, then this is worth reading, it provides a deeper understanding of how society functions, how the majority-minority problems have evolved. Karen Armstrong is my favorite writer, and we have many things in common with Pope Francis, President Obama, President Carter, Aga Khan and I. We respect the otherness of others with all humility, because we are all created by God and we are all one family.
EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE
John Locke, "endorsed a master’s “Absolute, arbitrary, despotical power” over a slave, which included “the power to kill him at any time”.
"Ironically, no sooner had the revolutionaries rid themselves of one religion, than they invented another. Their new gods were liberty, nature and the French nation, which they worshipped in elaborate festivals choreographed by the artist Jacques Louis David."
"... allowed states to intrude into the lives of their citizens more than had ever been possible. Even if they spoke a different language from their rulers, subjects now belonged to the “nation,” whether they liked it or not. John Stuart Mill regarded this forcible integration as progress; .."
" ... Yet this toleration was only skin-deep, and as Lord Acton had predicted, an intolerance of ethnic and cultural minorities would become the achilles heel of the nation-state. Indeed, the ethnic minority would replace the heretic (who had usually been protesting against the social order) as the object of resentment in the new nation-state. "
"Thomas Jefferson, one of the leading proponents of the Enlightenment in the United States, instructed his secretary of war in 1807 that Native Americans were “backward peoples” who must either be “exterminated” or driven “beyond our reach” to the other side of the Mississippi “with the beasts of the forest”.
"Napoleon issued the “infamous decrees”, ordering the Jews of France to take French names, privatise their faith, and ensure that at least one in three marriages per family was with a gentile."
"....centuries of Christian prejudice, but gave it a scientific rationale, claiming that Jews did not fit the biological and genetic profile of the Volk, and should be eliminated from the body politic as modern medicine cut out a cancer."
"All too often an aggressive secularism has pushed religion into a violent riposte. Every fundamentalist movement that I have studied in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is rooted in a profound fear of annihilation, convinced that the liberal or secular establishment is determined to destroy their way of life. This has been tragically apparent in the Middle East."
"Mehmet Resid, known as the “execution governor”, regarded the Armenians as “dangerous microbes” in “the bosom of the Fatherland”. Ataturk completed this racial purge."
I am holding off expletives, the SOB Shah of Iran was kicked out because of what he did to his people, "
In Iran in 1928, Reza Shah Pahlavi issued the laws of uniformity of dress: his soldiers tore off women’s veils with bayonets and ripped them to pieces in the street. In 1935, the police were ordered to open fire on a crowd who had staged a peaceful demonstration against the dress laws in one of the holiest shrines of Iran, killing hundreds of unarmed civilians. Policies like this made veiling, which has no Qur’anic endorsement, an emblem of Islamic authenticity in many parts of the Muslim world."
"Had the democratic process been thwarted in such an unconstitutional manner in Iran or Pakistan, there would have been worldwide outrage. But because an Islamic government had been blocked by the coup, there was jubilation in some quarters of the western press – as if this undemocratic action had instead made Algeria safe for democracy. In rather the same way, there was an almost audible sigh of relief in the west when the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power in Egypt last year. But there has been less attention to the violence of the secular military dictatorship that has replaced it, which has exceeded the abuses of the Mubarak regime."
The United States has committed many blunders - one of them was rejecting Hamas, democratically elected by the people of Gaza. What options did we give them? All of them were wrong.
"...any secular thinkers now regard “religion” as inherently belligerent and intolerant, and an irrational, backward and violent “other” to the peaceable and humane liberal state – an attitude with an unfortunate echo of the colonialist view of indigenous peoples as hopelessly “primitive”, mired in their benighted religious beliefs."
And the last one, "When secularisation has been applied by force, it has provoked a fundamentalist reaction – and history shows that fundamentalist movements which come under attack invariably grow even more extreme. "
Please read my solution at the very end.
Myths of religious violence by Karen Armstrong
Courtesy of the Guardian
The popular belief that religion is the cause of the world’s bloodiest conflicts is central to our modern conviction that faith and politics should never mix. But the messy history of their separation suggests it was never so simple
|A US army soldier shoots at Taliban fighters on the outskirts of Jellawar in the Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images|
The pioneers of secularism seemed to be falling into the same old habits as their religious predecessors. Secularism was designed to create a peaceful world order, but the church was so intricately involved in the economic, political and cultural structures of society that the secular order could only be established with a measure of violence. In North America, where there was no entrenched aristocratic government, the disestablishment of the various churches could be accomplished with relative ease. But in France, the church could be dismantled only by an outright assault; far from being experienced as a natural and essentially normative arrangement, the separation of religion and politics could be experienced as traumatic and terrifying.
There are consequences to our failure to understand that our secularism, and its understanding of the role of religion, is exceptional. When secularisation has been applied by force, it has provoked a fundamentalist reaction – and history shows that fundamentalist movements which come under attack invariably grow even more extreme. The fruits of this error are on display across the Middle East: when we look with horror upon the travesty of Isis, we would be wise to acknowledge that its barbaric violence may be, at least in part, the offspring of policies guided by our disdain.
- Don't bark at the religion for the acts of bad guys. Punishment is set for bad acts, to restore the trust in a given society. When a Rapist is running around in a neighborhood, everyone is apprehensive, but when the guy is caught and nailed, peace of mind is restored in the neighborhood. Instead of catching the guy, if we blame his raising, his family, his religion, his race or nation, and his imam, rabbi, pastor or pundit – we will not restore peace. I intend to aggressively communicate this idea, the right idea, and intend to speak at various law enforcement agencies as well as religious institutions.
- The criminal ought to know that he will be punished; we will not allow the poor
alibi of religion, not at all. The Law enforcement and the media people also
need to get this in their heads, the purpose of investigations and chasing the
bad guys is to restore trust and not to aggravate by barking at a non-entity
like Religion. The more you bark at criminal’s religion, race or ethnicity, the worse it gets.
You cannot shoot, kill, hang, beat or bury the religion, then why bark at it?
- 72 Virgins are
promised. Both the terrorists and the communicators of the problem (Media and
Politicians) to the world at large have gotten it wrong. The poor guy needs to
be outraged at the recruiters that he was duped, and there are no 72 virgins
waiting for him, instead the SOB will rot in Jail if we Americans get him, or
killed mercilessly if he is caught by the opposite party. No Geneva conventions
will be observed by either the terrorist or his chasers. The Media needs to stop the BS of propagating
the falsity with nothing to back up in the Qur'an.
- Both the criminal and
the law enforcement (coupled with the media and politicians) must be aware that
it is the Sin, and not the sinner we are after. The clarity should prevent us
from being unjust. We should not be
abusive in disciplining or punishing the wrong doer. As a civil society, we
cannot become the very evil we want to eradicate.
- We should seek the criminal to lead us to the source of recruiting material and the recruiters by mitigating his punishment.
- The Challenge to “read the right translation/interpretation” of Qur'an applies to both the criminal and the law enforcement. I am certain, the criminal will become a genuine repenter, and the law enforcement will not buy or propagate the dished out non-sense in the market or bark irrelevantly.
Bottom line is to free Islam and Muslims from the stupid stereotyping, and focus on punishing the bad guys and restoring trust in the society.
Don’t give me the BS about your job, childhood, parents, kids, siblings, spouse, imam, rabbi, pastor or the pundit. You did it and you'll pay for it.
Note: Mr. Terrorist, I don't condemn you, it is your sin I condemn. If you claim to be a Muslim, just remember, those guys who recruited you, and cheated you with false promises of Hoories and virgins in paradise were dead wrong. There is no such thing nor is it mentioned in Qur'an, instead you will rot in jail for life. Would you turn in your recruiters for cheating you? Would you read the correct translations of Qur'an, we might minimize your sentence?
This should be the attitude of Law enforcement
Authorized by Mike Ghouse, World Muslim Congress.
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.