Why the Media and President Bush
are Playing Down ...
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 092801)

... the religious war aspect of the attack on America and
the root historical/religious/ethnic causes of the global
terrorism we are now at war against ...

1) fear that speaking of it will inflame hatreds deeply
embedded in substantial parts of the Arab and muslim
world, making fighting and winning the war all the more
difficult,

2) knowing that admitting the complicity of faith and his-
tory and religion in the war will reveal fundamental flaws
of faith and christianity and islam and calls to absolute
authority / benevolence (god) which are often resorted
to as the icons of goodness in the modern day, despite
the fact religion and faith and god are steeped in a history
of divisiveness and war,

3) to cling to the illusion of the preeminent goodness of
religion no matter its downsides,

4) to protect the illusion that those who use religion for evil
are aberrations / not "true" believers no matter how much
of the foundational "holy" documents support the religious-
steeped actions of the "truly devout",

5) to hold fast to the christian and islamic covering up of
a history of religious war and the manner in which religion
has been used to the detriment of humankind,

6) to perpetuate faith as a tool to manipulate and control
people in a pretentious and self-serving manner,

and

7) to promote the worship of religion, faith, and wealth as
icons of both the status quo and the ultimate reasons for
being.

- - -

Key excerpts pertaining to god, islam, and christianity, in
a Time Magazine article dated October 1, 2001 ...

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101011001-175979,00.html

o On top of its own controversial history in the region, the
U.S. inherits the weight of centuries of muslim bitterness
over the crusades and other military campaigns ...

o But to get to the virulence of antipathy exhibited by the
kamikaze 19 and their abettors and apologists, another
element is required. That element is the idea that the U.S.
is not just the enemy of the Arabs or even of muslims gen-
erally but also the enemy of god. It is an idea encouraged
by the Ayatullah Khomeini, who proclaimed the U.S. "the
great satan," spread by islamic extremists throughout the
Arab world and now given potent expression by, it would
seem, the biggest player among all such militants today,
Osama bin Laden. ...

o Certainly the greatest single source of Arab displeasure
with the U.S. is its stalwart support of Israel ... Particu-
larly egregious to muslims is Israel's control over islamic
shrines in Jerusalem, the third most sacred city to islam. ...
To islamic fanatics, including bin Laden, the peace pro-
cess is of course anathema; for them, Israel is a state to
be destroyed, not to be bargained with. ...

o To bin Laden, as well as many nonradical muslims, the
presence of infidel soldiers in the homeland of the prophet
Muhammad is a sacrilege. Today 7,000 U.S. soldiers are
stationed in Saudi Arabia. ...

o In an effort to contain islamic extremism, Washington
backs the government of Algeria's President ... despite
its ironfisted conduct in the civil war against the Armed
Islamic Group. ...

o America's detractors complain that the U.S. is imper-
vious not only to Arab rights but also to Arab suffering. ...
10 years after the Iraqis were forced out of Kuwait, on
worldwide sanctions that are devastating the Iraqi people.
According to the U.N., some 5,000 Iraqi children die
every month of malnutrition and disease because of the
sanctions. ...

o We've done some specific things that are perceived as
reflecting either an indifference to or a hostility to mus-
lims. Islamic radicals keep a list of what they consider
our casual cruelty, although their definition of who is
inflicting the pain sometimes includes all of christendom. ...

o Underlying all these laments is a deep resentment that
the Arab world is not the geopolitical player it feels entitled
to be. The wound is aggravated by a historical memory of
grandeur, of islam's expansion from Arabia in the 7th cen-
tury to the conquest of the Levant, northern Africa and
much of Europe, culminating in a final rebuff at the gates
of Vienna 10 centuries later. ...

o The brutality of christendom's efforts to conquer the
Holy Land from the muslims in the crusades of the 11th,
12th and 13th centuries is not forgotten in the Middle East
(making President Bush's early use of the word crusade to
describe America's antiterror effort an unfortunate choice). ...

o In islamic belief, Muhammad is god's last prophet; he
built upon the revelations of Moses and Jesus to propound
a superior, perfect faith. But the world that faith created
was broken apart: after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire
in World War I, the colonial powers of France and Britain
carved the Middle East into arbitrarily drawn mandates and
states governed by handpicked local leaders. ...

o Colonialism and the advance of western modernity have
nurtured the modern version of islamic fundamentalism: if
islam is perfect and its kingdom is in retreat, it must be that
its practitioners have strayed from the fundamentals of the
faith. This notion gained increasing currency after 1979,
when a popular uprising overthrew the corrupt, western-
izing, U.S.-backed Shah of Iran. ...

o The Iranian revolution nevertheless inspired muslims all
over the Arab world to action. Egyptian writer Abd al-Salam
Faraj wrote their manifesto, a pamphlet called The Neglected
Duty, in which he argued that holy war was necessary to
defend not just muslims but muslim dignity. Faraj, like many
other muslim radicals, singled out those parts of the koran
and the hadith, the collected sayings and deeds attributed
to Muhammad, that seemed to support his argument. Bin
Laden has come to fulfill the Neglected Duty. ...

o Bin Laden fancies himself a modern-day Saladin, the mus-
im commander who liberated Jerusalem from the crusaders.
"I envision Saladin coming out of the clouds," bin Laden
says in a videotape released earlier this year to his supporters.
"Our history is being rewritten." ...

o "Islam Is the Solution" is the slogan of the islamic move-
ment, and to many it seems a better bet than the Arab nation-
alism that has brought them poverty, corrupt governments
or both. ...

- - -

Conclusion:

It is the triumphalist religious convictions of bin Laden that
make him and his followers so dangerous.

"This is not violence in the service of some practical pro-
gram ... it is killing infidels in the service of allah. To a
secular person, it's crazy. How can that be an end in itself?
The facts speak for themselves: there is one objective here,
to kill an enormous number of people and humiliate the
satanic power. There is no claim of responsibility because
there is only one audience, and that is god."

With a god they perceive to be admiringly urging them on,
bin Laden's associates have no self-restraint. They are limited
only by their capabilities, which the U.S. has now decided it
has no choice but to destroy.

- - - end excerpts - - -