Religious terrorism isn't newBaltimore Post-Examiner

Religious terrorism isn’t new, especially in the U.S.

Yesterday I was watching the video of Malala Yousafzai accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace. She of course thanked her parents and the Nobel Committee and expressed her gratitude for being the first Pashtun, the first Pakistani and the youngest person to ever receive the award. But what she said early in her speech caught my attention, as she thanked her mother, Tor Pekai Yousafzai. “Thank you to my mother, for inspiring me to be patient and to always speak the truth, which we strongly believe is the true message of Islam.”

Hmm … you watch certain “news” networks and read posts on Facebook, a bunch of non-Muslims want us to believe Islam is a religion of intolerance, hatred and violence. So who should we believe: the non-Muslims that are reacting to acts of terrorism perpetrated by people claiming to be Muslim, or a Muslim girl who began her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Peace with the words, “In the name of God, the most merciful, the most beneficent.”

Eh, I’m gonna follow the herd and go with the non-Muslims and call it a religion of intolerance, hatred and violence, instead of this 18 year old girl who was herself a victim of religious zealots from her religion.

Facebook meme

Facebook meme

All religions are intolerant to some degree and in the case of the three religions that worship the god of Abraham, they can be quite intolerant and hateful. And violent. Religious zealots of the Christian variety attacked every abortion clinic bombed and every abortion provider injured or killed because of their profession.

As I recall not one religious leader in this country condemned the bombings and murders without this caveat: the terrorists that carried out these attacks felt they had to do it because the abortion providers were killing babies. In other words, it was wrong to commit murder, but if these doctors, nurses and escorts hadn’t been providing or facilitating abortion the terrorists wouldn’t have murdered them.

The other day there was a Facebook meme that said, “Muhammad is a false prophet and Allah is a phony god. ‘LIKE’ if you agree.” The irony of that being “Allah” is the Arabic word for “God” and the religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism all worship the same deity, the god of Abraham.

The question of whether Muhammad is a false prophet is certainly debatable. There would be no final resolution unless everyone agrees all prophets are false prophets and a deity called “God,” or “Allah” in Arabic, does not exist. But that’s not going to happen. That would be too much logic and reason for this era.

Here’s where the irony comes in: These three religions all worship the same deity, the god of Abraham. If the creator of that meme claims “Allah” is a phony god, then he (or she) is saying the god Christians and Jews worship is phony as well. They just don’t get the connection, or, they willfully ignore it to push their anti-Islam message.

And here’s the message: because a very minute percentage of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world commit barbaric acts of violence, then the entire religion is bad and everyone who is a Muslim is bad. We can’t trust any Muslims because of this tiny minority of Muslims that use their holy book to justify their extremism.

“if you convert to Christianity we won’t kill you AND you can keep that tree as part of our Christian holiday.” (Wikipedia)

“if you convert to Christianity we won’t kill you AND you can keep that tree as part of our Christian holiday.” (Wikipedia)

The next irony being that for 2,000 years Christianity has been using barbaric acts of violence to promote its religion.

That’s how the Romans spread Christianity through Europe. Christmas and Easter were arranged to coincide with Pagan holidays to make them more palatable for the people the Romans enslaved. And they allowed these enslaved people to add their own religious customs into the Christmas and Easter holidays. Eventually Easter bunnies, Christmas trees and boughs of holly became symbols of Christian holidays.

For 50 years (at least) Northern Ireland was a land beset by violence between the Catholics on one side and the Protestants on the other — with the British government. That conflict was resolved just 21 years ago.

In the Central African Republic thousands of Muslims are fleeing the Christian mobs that are destroying Muslim property and killing Muslims. We didn’t read or hear about this because Paris, France is far more sensational. We are used to the idea that Africans are killing each other. It’s been going on for so long we’ve pretty much forgotten about it, except for Benghazi, Libya or maybe Egypt. Even George Clooney, with all his star power, can’t get Americans concerned enough about the atrocities taking place in Darfur.

  • The Washington Post did have an article online about the atrocities in the Central African Republic.

Christianity is no more a religion of peace than Islam. We in America just like to think it is because, we’re Americans and we say so. Actually, there’s no accounting for willful ignorance so there’s really no logical explanation for that notion. Should the entirety of Christendom be judged by the acts of their brethren in Africa? Well, if we’re going to judge all of Islam by the acts of these terrorists, then let’s be consistent and do the same with Christianity.

••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

John Brown in 1859. (Wikipedia)

John Brown in 1859.
(Wikipedia)

America has had — and still has — it’s own homegrown terrorists. Start with Timothy McVeigh, Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Seung-Hui Cho, David Koresh, Jared Lee Loughner, Cliven Bundy and a slew of others going back in our history.

Just a few months ago we ran a series of article on Jesse James, a terrorist in his own right, but who is beloved by many as a hero. Despite the number of people he murdered.

Anti-slavery activist John Brown was a terrorist. He and his followers carried out killings of pro-slavery advocates in Kansas and then in 1859 he led his famous raid on the Harper’s Ferry, Virginia Armory. It failed and Brown was captured, put on trial for a variety of offenses, including murder and treason — the treason was considered the most serious charge at the time — convicted and then hanged. Many people, past and present, consider John Brown to be a hero. Not surprisingly, John Brown thought he was directed by God to carry out his acts of violent terror. Many terrorists love to quote their holy books while committing atrocities.

Like David Koresh — Vernon Wayne Howell if you step out of the fantasy world — the false prophet in Waco, Texas who chose to fight the federal government and endanger the lives of hundreds of followers in the process. In the siege at Waco, Texas, 87 people died along with Koresh, 17 of them children. One of his followers killed Koresh, once the place went up in flames.

Vernon Wayne Howell, aka, David Koresh (Wikipedia)

Vernon Wayne Howell, aka, David Koresh
(Wikipedia)

One thing our home grown talent has in common, at least the latter day terrorists: they either worship at the altar of one major American religion or are/were supported by those that worship that religion: guns. The Second Amendment, if you want to sound civilized.

Gun enthusiasts … no, gun fanatics … have two events in recent times they point to as reasons to be in armed conflict with the federal government:

“Ruby Ridge,” when government agents tried to arrest Randy Weaver and all hell broke loose, with several people being killed, including Weaver’s wife Vicki and son Samuel.

“Waco,” the David Koresh fiasco.

They begat Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the duo that committed the most horrific act of home grown terror: the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that killed 168 people, many of them children in a day care center.

Most recently there was Cliven Bundy and his supporters taking up arms and threatening federal government law enforcement employees. These criminals actually set up roadblocks on public roads to stop unwanted people from approaching Bundy’s ranch.

All of these people cite their “Second Amendment Rights” as a leading reason for their militant views. Many of them profess some allegiance to a cult or sect of Christianity.

Timothy Mcveigh at the Perry, Oklahoma courthouse. (Wikipedia)

Timothy Mcveigh at the Perry, Oklahoma courthouse.
(Wikipedia)

And some are just flat out, plain crazy, but the gun rights advocates defended their rights to buy and own firearms. If you oppose background checks on firearms purchasing, then you endorse crazy people buying and owning firearms.

That’s one of our main religions, and as Carl Woodward point out earlier this week, money is the dominant religion in America. Christianity is a distant — and fading — third place.

••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

So, these religious extremists in France killed 12 in and around the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which most of us hadn’t heard of before. Then another French police officer was murdered before authorities in two separate locations killed the three religious terrorists: a print shop just outside of Paris and a kosher deli.

Bill Donohue, president of the U.S. Catholic League, said, “Muslims are right to be angry,” and that Stephane Charbonnier, editor for Charlie Hebdo, “didn’t understand the role he played in his [own] tragic death.”

Yep, blame the victims. We shouldn’t be mocking religions and religious figures. Them’s fightin’ words — killin’ words. Whatever I say that makes you mad is justification for you hurting or killing me, but it’s wrong for you to hurt or kill me, but you have a valid justification.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Fox News. (YouTube)

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Fox News.
(YouTube)

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told President Obama to “take sides” in this “religious war.” Graham has been crusading for a 21st century crusade against Islam for years. On the crazy right wing’s soapbox, better known as Fox News, Graham said, “These are not terrorists. They’re radical Islamists who are trying to replace our way of life with their way of life. Their way of life is motivated by religious teachings that require me and you to be killed, or enslaved, or converted.”

Sort of like Christian missionaries did when other Christians began stealing the land from Native Americans in a 400-plus year war on the indigenous population that included brutal acts of terror and verifiable genocide.

Rush Limbaugh said the terrorism in Paris was all because of Benghazi. Of course this all goes back to Benghazi … isn’t someone monitoring how much Oxycodone he takes?

Eric Boling of Fox News urges us to adopt a police state because it’s not a police state — it’s a safe state … and he’s one of the guys who yells about our rights and how President Obama and liberals are against our civil liberties. How is it possible these guys don’t hear their own hypocrisy? It’s so glaringly obvious.

But what really gets the goat of the American right is that President Obama didn’t call the terrorism in France “Islamic Terrorism.” We have to call it what it is, they say. Because, don’t ya know, we’re in a war against radical Islam. Just ask Senator Graham.

In reality 20 people are dead in France because three individuals took direction from a hate group in Yemen and went on as murderous rampage — like religious extremists have done before.

Malala Yousafzai YouTube)

Malala Yousafzai
YouTube)

Terrorism is and has been a part all three religions that worship the god of Abraham. In Christianity, Catholicism in particular, we have an official term for it: The Inquisition. Believe it or not, the Inquisition hasn’t been formally ended. They just changed the name to the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Catchy. But, at least with the new Pope, the Catholic Church doesn’t condone or use torture as a tool for spreading the word and converting infidels.

The three in Paris happened to be Muslim. There is much violence going on around the world due to people who say Islam is their religion and that their holy book, the Koran, instructs them to commit these horrific acts of terror.

If that is indicative of the entire Muslim religion, why didn’t Malala Yousafzai and billions of other Muslims get that message?


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.
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