Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Global War: Deliverance from Intolerance?

This week is one of the holiest for Jews and Christian. Passover, which celebrates the Israel's deliverance from Egypt, and Easter, when Christians of all denominations and sects come together to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. Indeed, Easter can be said to be the crux of Christianity. Both events celebrate good over the evil; of faith in God so save the righteous. Yet, today, both religions, along with Hinduism, Buddhism, and numerous others, are under threat again. This time it’s by radical Islam, which calls for the establishment of a global Caliphate and worldwide enforcement of the extremist interpretation of Sharia law. While most religions would choose to live in peace, radical Islam has literally declared a “jihad” or “holy war” on anyone, including non-conforming Moslems that don’t accept their rule. The penalty is death. There is no “compromise”. There is no “negotiation. After all, in their eyes, how do you “negotiate” with God?

Over the past several years, dozens of churches have been destroyed. Christians have been beaten, threatened, harassed, and murdered. Just last week, Moslem troops in the African state of Ivory Coast, murdered 1000 Christians. Yes, you read that number correctly. Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists have fared little better. Who doesn’t remember the brutal assault of radical Moslem attacking Mumbai India in 2008 or the destruction of Buddhist statues, hundreds of years old in 2003? Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, not to mention Zoroastrians, Taoists, and others have often faced the same fate as Christians with beatings, murders, and the ubiquitous decapitations.

We are at war. This war has little to do with geopolitics, Afghanistan, or Iraq. It has to do with God. It’s a global religious war, and whether or not we want to accept it make little difference to do those who are waging it. Perhaps, from their perspective, it’s even better. Taking a lesson from Sun Tzu, its good strategy to talk peace or be seen as promoting peace while engaging in war. What better way to expand your influence?

What can we do? First, we have to acknowledge it. We can expect our current administration to do nothing. Washington is not just leaderless, it’s clueless. We must build a grassroots movement of interfaith to not just focus on religious tolerance, but demand it. We should encourage and support moderate or liberal/sectarian Moslems to speak up and speak out. After all, it’s ultimately their faith being hijacked. For those living in the West, we should encourage the adoption of western dress, values, and language. If they don’t “buy into” Western Culture, how they can be expected to defend it? This is, of course, the near opposite of multiculturalism which wants to be everything to everybody while undermining the essence of what it means to be an American, or German, or English, or French, or Russian. Multiculturalism is ultimately cowardice.

The West, and I include Eastern Europe and Russia as well, must come together with a zero tolerance of radicalism in their own countries. Radicals must be dealt with swiftly. Prisons are the fastest breeding ground for radical Islam. It must stop. Moderate Islam must be introduced and encouraged in the world’s prisons. India too must take the same steps to curtail the growth of extremists groups. The World must not just protest acts of atrocity, they must demand swift action. These countries, which allow churches and temples to be burned, and the murder innocents depend on the West for their economic survival. Perhaps we should flex our economic might by demanding immediate and public justice. The fact that most of these acts happen in poor and often illiterate countries, shows why education (especially of females) is so feared by radicals. Education requires empirical thought---reason and logic. That’s something radicalism can’t tolerate any more than cockroaches can tolerate the glare of light.

My hope is the realization of the meaning of both Passover and Easter, which is namely the celebration of freedom from intolerance, fear, and tyranny, be it from a Pharaoh, the Romans, religious fascism, or globalism.

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