Terrorism is often equated with Islamist fundamentalism. Time and time again terrorism is mentioned and alongside that image in America is a bearded man with dark skin. Maybe not the “scruffy” Middle Easterner we may have seen a decade ago, but still the common theme is this: Islam. Often in our main stream media the word Extremist is synonymous with Islamist Extremist. The rhetoric automatically paints any form of extremism as an extreme version of Islam, bent on destroying all that is good, or destroying Israel, or America, or whatever the popular Western idea is at the time. None of the most vocal or socially powerful people that espouse this belief ever stop and wonder if perhaps it isn’t Islam that is the problem, but fundamentalism itself. Perhaps it isn’t even fundamentalism, perhaps it is extreme religiosity? Or, perhaps it is religion itself?
Many times I hear the argument for Fundamental Islam as being intrinsically terrorist and violent and that Christianity is just not so. I’ve heard that an objective reading of the Quran leads us to a violent end while an objective view of the Bible fills us with a never ending stream of love and friendship. The argument tends to boil down to a few main points: If you believe in the Bible as historically true, you will be led to goodness and piety and the effect will be “good”. If you believe in the Quran as historically true, you will be led to badness and immorality or violence, and will be “bad”. To do violence in the name of the Bible is a perversion of Christianity, and conversely, by that same definition stated above, to do good in the name of the Quran is to pervert it as well. After all, if you aren’t doing violence and are a Muslim, and the Quran leads you to violence if you take it seriously, you either aren’t a Muslim or you are being two faced and living up to (typically “Christian”) some other set of values.
This simply is not the case and I wish people would stop spouting such idiotic nonsense. Every single argument leveled against Islam can be leveled against Christianity (and any other religion as well). The Muslim belief isn’t solely responsible for the violence that Muslims do in the name of Allah, it is religious indoctrination itself that is the problem. Living in a theocracy that destroys individual rights in favor of Bronze Age mythology is the main culprit. Believe me, if we lived in a Christian theocracy we’d see the same kinds of terrorists acts perpetrated just like we do in other religions. Don’t believe me? Need proof? Surely Christians aren’t possible of terrorism or heinous acts, at least not real ones or real organized ones.
I am not going to go into a huge amount of detail explaining the atrocities of the KKK, fundamentalist Christians that believe Protestantism is the only true belief and terrorism is an acceptable form of “swaying” public opinion. Mormons, a fundamentalist Abraham religion that holds the view that the darker your skin is, the less godly you are. yes, there is scripture according to the Church of Latter Day Saints that claims that Black people are cursed and are not fit to live along side pure White people. The Westboro Baptist Church that pickets the deaths of soldiers and claims that their deaths are the fault of homosexual activity in the United States. The IRA (Irish Republican Army) that has been responsible for and the recipient of several terrorist attacks in the name of a Christian god. I can go on and on about how several Christian groups, both fundamentalist (and some not so fundamentalist) and extremist are capable of the same atrocities that occur in the name of Islam. Or Zeus. Or Thor. Or whoever. Keep in mind, every single one of these groups that have committed either terrorism or some other atrocity can find actual scripture to back them up.
The point to be made here is no one religion is immune to its own effects. Whether it’s hardcore Christianity, or Islam, or Shintoism, or Judaism, or whatever, fundamentalist beliefs in a divine god that favors the actions of a select in group will inevitably lead to violence and harm to any population. We need to stop attacking Islam as a source of violence and oppression, but attack religious faith as a basis for morality and justification for actions. Only then will we see the bloodshed and fear in the name of god come to an end.