Posts Tagged ‘Hamas’

Time for Jihad?

September 7, 2014

Jihad is not one of the five pillars upon which the faith of Islam is founded.

If we, the Christians of this world, are to morally oppose Muslim terrorists, we should not do it on a platform of condemning Islam as a whole. Such a judgment upon Mohammed’s people would be downright impracticable and unworkable. We may classify them as heretics; some of us may identify Mohammed as a false prophet.

But hey, the Muslims of the world are not going to go away on the basis of our opposing their extremist elements. In the last fourteen centuries millions of the Islamic faithful have followed the teachings of Mohammed, and millions of them still are following him through the Quran and hadith traditions.

And that is worth something, because it is reality. Islam represents a long-lived institutional presence in our world. Such longevity has earned the people of the Quran an historical legitimacy.

Mohammed founded his worldwide religion based on five religious disciplines, or “pillars,” as the Muslims call them: belief in one God, prayer five times a day, giving to the poor, fasting and spiritual discipline during Ramadan, and the hajj journey to Mecca.

Jihad is not one of the five pillars of Islamic faith.

World history proves that Islam is no fly-by-night cult; the opinions of mankind render it a legitimate force to be reckoned with.

On one hand, the “force” characteristic of Islamic expansion is the problem, and we need to deal with it. If Islam is a religion of the sword, which depends on forced conversion of people with whom it crosses paths , we do have a large fundamental problem with it.

On the other hand, if the coercion we presently see from ISIS and other murderous groups is not rooted in authentic Islam itself but rather in extremists’ distortion of that faith, we cannot reasonably classify all Muslims as jihadists.

So which is it? Which “hand” is it? I believe we need to give mainstream Muslims the benefit of the doubt, because we inhabit the same world they do. Blessed are the peacemakers. But the ISIS murderers–they are a different animal. They are the Nazis of our age.

We will soon have to deal with them in the same way our grandparents had to deal with the Nazis three quarters of a century ago. Because the world did not effectively oppose the rise of Hitler and his Nazi criminals in a timely way, their Third Reich thuggery corrupted the entire machinery of Germany’s government and military. Then it took the greatest generation of our Western civilization to put a stop to their fiercely organized bloodletting. But it was not easy. Millions gave their lives in the process of ridding the world of the Nazi pestilence.

This cannot be allowed to happen to the Islamic countries in our day and time. We must make peace with Islam, if that is possible. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Accordingly, we must insist that Muslim leaders clean house, and rid their ranks of those murderers who execute innocent men/women without rule of law and without justice.

This dire situation is nothing new. About ninety years ago, Adolf Hitler named his contention with the world “Mein Kamph,” which means “my struggle.” He spent the rest of his destructively misguided life trying to convince the German people that “his” struggle was the same as their struggle to become a great people. It wasn’t. As it later turned out, the German people had better things to do than fight the feuhrer’s maniacal battles for him. What a price the Germans and the world at large had to pay in time and precious lives, to learn that hard lesson.

Likewise, the Muslim faithful of our present world have better things to do–like governing their own people–than fighting the bloody battles laid out for them by ISIS, Al Nusra, Hamas, Hezbollah and others of their ilk.

Fourteen hundred years ago, Mohammed established his legacy among the Arabs by accepting the role of spiritual prophet. But he went further than that. He also took on political and military roles. Perhaps his taking on such forceful responsibilities, and their subsequent precedents after his death, is why the coercive power of the sword has become an oft-used weapon of Muslim hegemony.

This swordish attribute of Islamic power is not a religious tactic to which Christians readily acknowledge legitimacy. Except that: our own history of violence, forced persecution and war are, like it or not, an undeniable stain on the Christian heritage.

Even so, that was not Jesus’ precedent. All the subsequent killing, maiming, forced converting in the name of God under Christendom was what we did, not Jesus. Jesus’ ultimate purpose was to atone for those sins that infect every one of us, and to affirm his salvatory work through resurrection after crucifixion. There is no historical evidence that Jesus took up the sword.

As for Mohammed, he affirmed his work through writing the Quran, but also by taking up the sword in the interests of redistributing wealth and establishing justice among his Arab people. He did take up the lethal weapon of military power in order to accomplish that. The principles of Islam governance are human principles.

The principles of Christian resurrection, however, are advocated by a people who hope to transcend this world, and possibly transform it in the process. Because this world is at war with itself, always will be . . . until Christ returns.

You think me naive to write such a thing? Two thousand years of Christianity attest that I am not alone in this belief. As for you followers of Mohammed, may Allah be with you. We’ll see how far that gets you on judgment day.

Smoke

The Rabbi’s Perspective

July 30, 2014

The book of Genesis gives an account of Jacob wrestling with G_d. I can relate. Sometimes I  feel as if I too am wrestling with God.

We are not alone in this contention. In some ways, Jacob is still wrestling with God. History has shown that Israel’s contention with Elohim often involves strife with other people. In the present day, the IDF’s intrepid excursion into Gaza has called Israel’s credentials as a civilized nation into question. If Jacob began the invasion opposing Hamas, bloody events have conspired to make it appear as if he is contending, not only with the whole world, but possibly also contending with the One who made the world.

Because 1200 people are dead, most of them innocent civilians, and many of them children.

If Israel’s long-range objective is to establish existential legitimacy in the eyes of the world,  who is really winning this contest?

Although I am a Christian supporter of Israel, during this last week that supportive  voice in my soul has been drowned out with the cry of innocent blood that now emanates from Gaza ground.

I know that Israel did not initiate this defensive campaign with the intention to kill more than a thousand Palestinian civilians.

But that is what has happened. There’s no excuse for a thousand dead bodies, most of them innocents and many of them children. Somebody should have had the sense to stop this thing before the loud din of bloody collateral damage drowned out any possible victory proclamation.

In this audio link that I am now recommending, we hear a Jewish voice that is a credible alternative to the Likud/IDF way of doing things. Rabbi Henry Siegman acknowledges that Israel’s initial attempt to end Hamas rockets is justifiable. I agree.

But because of Hamas’ treachery against its own people,  the IDF has suddenly jolted far past the line of what is, among the opinions of mankind, acceptably justifiable warfare.  In Rabbi Siegman’s interview with Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, he offers an historically-based explanation of why Israel’s defensive sortie could have degenerated into such an excessively lethal assault.

The man has certainly earned a right to offer his perspective. He  is a former President of the American Jewish Congress, and former President of the Synagogue Council of America.

I am fascinated with Rabbi Seigman’s personal history, which includes his family’s escape from Nazi Germany. The Siegman family’s arrival in the United States during World War II was a thankful deliverance after several years of evading the Nazis during the early Holocaust period.

Born in 1930, Henry was one of six children whose parents secreted the family out of Germany in 1935. Their odyssey of survival included temporary residences in Belgium and Vichy France, and attempt to enter Spain, and eventually a boat ride out of Marseille to North Africa and ultimately a voyage to  New York.

In this Democracy Now conversation the Rabbi speaks of his Zionist youth, his later hope that Israeli peace with Palestinians could culminate with Messiah, and his subsequent disappointment that Israel had been unable to reach an agreement with the people who lived in Palestine when the Zionists moved in. The Rabbi’s perspective is a highly credible counterpoint to the Likud/IDF strategy for establishing Israel as a nation among nations. In this link to the July 29, 2014 broadcast of Democracy Now, the interview begins at the 19:00 minute mark:

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/30/henry_siegman_leading_voice_of_us

 

Smoke

Israel’s Hamas tar-baby

July 21, 2014

IsraeliFlag

I support our alliance with Israel.

But the Israelis, our only true allies in the Middle East, have gotten themselves into a bad spot in Gaza, and we need to help them. Please pardon me if I use this term: we need to Bail them out.

The present rocket-exchanging debacle with Hamas in Gaza has turned into a disaster. Hamas started it by manipulating their own people into a perilous position that placed innocent, civilian residents of Gaza in harm’s way. Thus Hamas have offered their own women, children and other innocents as victims on the altar of military politics.

Hamas has outfoxed Israel, because Israel now appears to be the aggressor because of the blood on its hands.

But it was Hamas who initiated the aggression when they began firing rockets from heavily-populated civilian locations, to lure the Israelis into grabbing hold of a tarbaby from which it can never free itself.

This is what Allies are for. The Israelis need our help because they’ve been drawn into a hopeless situation that can lead to no good outcome for them.

The theatre of war we have here is like Uncle Remus’ tale of Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox. Hamas, playing the role of Br’er Rabbit, has tricked Israel into playing the Br’er Fox role and grabbin’ onto the bloody tarbaby of Gazan atrocity.

“Don’t you be messin’ with my tar-baby in Gaza, Br’er Fox!” This was the ruse with which Br’er Rabbit taunted Israel, while setting up its own rocket-launching offense from tunnels they had dug right in the middle of Gaza’s densely-populated civilian areas.

Unfortunately for Israel, Netanyahu and the IDF were desperate enough to take the bait. Now they be stuck on the tar-baby and can’t get away. Now Israel has tarry blood on its hands in the midst of a massacre that becomes a holocaust for Gazans and a public relations disaster for Israel.

So I’ll tell you, as an American citizen who is entitled to his opinion, what we need to do.  Our United States of America armed forces need to move in. Send in the cavalry.  Do a search and rescue surgical operation. Deliver the innocent Gazans from death and destruction, and rescue  our ally Israel from political and military disaster at the same time:

Send in the yanks! Dispatch the special ops guys to do a surgical strike that will  put an end to this bloody accident of history. Bail out our only true ally in the Middle East. Maybe send the Marines, or the Seals, or the Rangers. I don’t know which team, but this is a job that our guys can do.

1.) Get the Israelis to back off, so we can move in from the Mediterranean side.

2.) Find the Hamas rocket-launchers and run them the hell out of those tunnels. Restore Gaza to the peaceful Gazan citizens.

3.) Clean up the mess. Bring in the UN or Red Cross, Red Crescent, whatever it takes to mend the wounded, bury the dead, and restore the neighborhoods of Gaza to their peaceful conditions.

4.) Destroy the Hamas rocket-launchers. Fill the tunnels with dirt. And don’t let Hamas back into Gaza. Send the Israelis home; tell them to pay better attention next time. No more tarbabies.

If we could take out Gadaffi and Bin Laden, we can take Hamas out of Gaza, and teach our allies a lesson in the process. Mr. Netanyahu, be more careful next time. We don’t want to make a habit of such interventions.

Smoke